The Peres Family
Ben Peres (Born Benzion Peresecki)
1926 - 1978
Survivors of the Holocaust frequently attribute their ability to avoid death to one main variable: luck. For Benzion Peresecki, the 15 year-old son of a delicatessen owner from Radviliškis, Lithuania, surviving the Holocaust was indeed fortunate, but came at an immense cost.
Within a span of 10 years, Benzion’s father died from a stomach ulcer, his brother was murdered by the Nazis, he was forced into a ghetto, and was imprisoned, beaten, and subjected to forced labor at the Dachau concentration camp. After liberation, Benzion spent five years in a displaced persons camp with his mother, Chiena, who herself survived a death march at the Stutthof concentration camp.
After immigrating to the United States, Benzion fought to re-establish his identity, find justice for his family’s suffering, and create a new home. Throughout his postwar years, no matter where he lived and how many times he moved, he always kept his jacket from Dachau.
Chiena Peresecki was Ben's mother. Chiena was separated from her son in August of 1943, when she was transported to a temporary labor camp in Lithuania named Linkaičiai, about 25 miles from the Siauliai ghetto. In July 1944, Chiena was moved from Linkaičiai to the women’s section of the Stutthof concentration camp, near Gdańsk, Poland. It was the last concentration camp to be liberated by the allies, on May 9, 1945. Chiena and Ben were reunited at the Landsberg DP Camp, where they lived for five years before immigrating to the United States.
Moshe Aharon Peresecki
1895 - 1937
Moshe Aharon Peresecki was Ben's father, who passed away in 1937 from a stomach ulcer, at age 42. Before World War II, the Peresecki family lived a comfortable life in Radviliškis, Lithuania. Moshe owned and operated three small businesses in their hometown: "Peresecki's Little Meat & Fruit Store", "Peresecki's Photo Store", and "Peresecki's Wine Shop".
1924 - 1941
Levi-Ichak Peresecki was Ben Peres's older brother, murdered at the age of 17 by Nazis in the 1941 Radviliskis massacre. On July 11th and 12th, 1941, four days after all the Jews of Radviliskis, Lithuania (including the Peresecki family) were forced from their homes, Nazis and local collaborators shot and buried about 300 Jews. One of the victims of this massacre was Levi-Ichak Peresecki.