Jacket from Holocaust found at garage sale
The blue and gray stripes struck Jillian Eisman like a lightning bolt.
She was rummaging through a packed closet during aLong Island garage salewhen she immediately recognized the symbol of horror and hate: a jacket worn by a prisoner at theNaziDachauconcentration camp duringWorldWar II.
“I knew exactly what it was, even before I sawthe numbers (84679 on the chest),” said Eisman, who bought the jacket for $2 at the sale last year and donated it to the Kupferberg Holocaust Center inNewYork.
Curators put the jacket on display and also unearthed the storyof the personwhoworeit: a teenager forced to make munitions for the German war effort, spent four years inarelocation camp and then came to America, never telling his children much about Dachau or that he kept the jacket.
The story of Benzion Peresecki — who later became Ben Peres— is told in extraordinary detail, thankslargely totheserial number and careful records he kept and that his daughter found long after he died.
Holocaust historians say jackets such as the one saved by Peres are fairly rare, since most of the clothing worn by concentration camp prisoners was burned because of lice and other potential diseases. Also, most freed prisoners didn’t want to keep reminders of their horrifying ordeal.
Eisman, whose brother, Joshua Birnbaum, was killed in the terror attacks on Sept 11, 2001, said she feels “everything happens for a reason.”
“There is a reason why I was friends with someone who worked at a Holocaust museum. What are the chances of that? It is difficult to say everything is a coincidence.”