Those we have lost

Maj. Benji Trakeniski, 32: Husband-to-be who rescued dozens

Killed while evacuating residents from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7

Benji Trakeniski, an off-duty soldier who went to rescue civilians in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Benji Trakeniski, an off-duty soldier who went to rescue civilians in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Maj. Benjamin (Benji) Trakeniski, 32, an off-duty soldier in the 7th Brigade of the IDF Armored Corps, was killed by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri while evacuating civilians from the area.

Trakeniski awoke suddenly on October 7 with his fiancée to the blare of rocket sirens throughout Tel Aviv. Wasting no time, the off-duty soldier drove with a few of his friends to their base in the north, and from there headed south to Be’eri.

“He and his team were the first force to go in and rescue the wounded in Kibbutz Be’eri. Benji rescued close to 50 of the wounded,” said Israel Trakeniski, the slain soldier’s father in a statement to Ichilov Hospital, where he volunteers.

According to his mother, Liz Bennett, Trakeniski “managed to eliminate some terrorists and help some families who were hiding from the terrorists.”

“We do not know the full details, but I understand he then went back into the kibbutz and was killed at that point,” she told The Telegraph.

A dual British and Israeli citizen, Benji was born to Israel Trakeniski and Liz Trakeniski-Bennett. Bennett made aliyah in 1981, and the couple now live in Netanya.

Benji’s younger sister, Sharon, commemorated what would have been his 33rd birthday two weeks ago on Instagram.

“Happy birthday my one and only beloved brother, remain the light of my life, watch over me… I love you so much,” she wrote.

Over the three days between his disappearance and the identification of his remains, Trakeniski’s family heard nothing from authorities about his whereabouts, relying on those who were at the scene to piece together what happened.

“We know that it happened in the vicinity of Kibbutz Be’eri. Benji was injured, but was meanwhile evacuating injured people into an ambulance to rescue them. From there the story split into a million different directions — some saw him in the ambulance, some didn’t see him from there,” said Trakeniski’s fiancée Rotem Simone to Israel’s Channel 12.

At his funeral in Herzliya, Simone read out her wedding vows. Together for over two years, the couple was to be married this coming April.

“Everyone that knew Benji knew that he was not only a brave and strong person, but he was a person with a big, wide heart that always wanted to help everyone,” Israel added about his late son.

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