The Jacket from Dachau:
One Survivor’s Search for Justice, Identity, and Home
In July of 2015, The Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC) was contacted by a vintage clothing dealer about a recent acquisition of a unique garment at an estate sale. In the back of a walk-in closet, amid a variety of old shirts and vintage dresses, hung a faded striped jacket.
We now know the story of Benzion Peresecki, a young Jewish man from Lithuania who wore this jacket for ten months in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany and kept it for 33 years. The exhibit tells Peresecki’s story of his immigration to the US, his legal pursuit of reparations, as well as historic photos, maps, multiple testimonies, and short films. It is a story of Holocaust survival that demonstrates the power of a single artifact to connect narratives of justice, identity, and a search for home.
Follow the Peresecki family’s life history from the early 1900s through their ghettoization and transfer to German concentration camps. This interactive map also traces their postwar movement from DP camps to New York City and Long Island.
See how the Peresecki family’s experiences relate to larger historical developments, from the early 1930s, through Ben’s death in 1978, to the discovery of the Jacket in July 2015.
Share your responses to the exhibit and the documents, photographs and videos that testify to the experiences of Ben Peres and his family. Your comments will help future visitors gain a deeper understanding of the impact of Ben’s jacket.
Explore the major struggles and successes that define Ben Peres’s life before, during and after the Holocaust, using the documents, photographs and artifacts from the exhibit.
Videos include an interview from a local Holocaust survivor who survived the Kaufering concentration camp, as well as talks about the artifact’s discovery, the exhibition’s development, the Holocaust in Lithuania, and the intersection of trauma and recovery.
Explore research tools, writing prompts, reflection questions, recommended texts, thematic tie-ins, artifacts, vocabulary lists, instructor resources, and more.
Explore hundreds of artifacts, including photos, documents, videos, and interviews related to Benzion Peresecki’s journey.
Explore exhibit text, images, maps, epilogue, bibliographic sources, and credits in catalogue form.