Ben-Zion Raisch was born in 1932 in Cernauti, Romania (Czernowitz, now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). His parents, Max and Sara, owned a grocery store in the city, and Ben-Zion studied at the local Jewish school "Safa Ivriya." His brother Poldy (Peretz) was born in 1938. That year, due to antisemitic incidents, his father immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine). In 1940, the Soviet Union occupied Cernauti. Russians took over a large part of the family home, and the connection with Max was severed.
In July 1941, the Romanians and the Germans occupied Cernauti. The Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Star and were confined in a ghetto. After a few weeks, Ben-Zion, his mother, and his little brother were put on a cattle car and taken to the Mărculești concentration camp, from where they were marched to the Yampil, Kryzhopil and Tsybulivka ghettos. Many of the prisoners died of cold, hunger and disease. Some were shot by the guards.
The family eventually arrived at the Zhabokrych ghetto, where they entered a house with no door. All the occupants of the house were lying on the floor. Three-year-old Poldy was weak with hunger. The next day, he asked for soup. Those were his last words. He died in his mother's arms.
Sara tried to sneak out of the ghetto to get food, but a guard beat her badly. Ben-Zion dragged her back into the house. He began to crawl under the ghetto fences and collect sugar beets that would fall from freight wagons. Despite being whipped by coachmen, he continued to do so in order to survive. In the summer, he worked with Ukrainian villagers. Young Ukrainians beat him and set dogs on him. In the winter, he learned to knit with the help of knitting needles he made from a barbed-wire fence. He and his mother knitted socks, gloves and sweaters for the villagers in exchange for potatoes.
In mid-March 1944, the Red Army occupied the area, and Ben-Zion and his mother returned to Romania. Sara reestablished contact with Max, and in January 1946 Ben-Zion arrived in Eretz Israel with his mother. After eight years of separation, the 14-year-old barely knew his father.
Ben-Zion became a wireless technician in the IDF, and after his military service he studied electronic engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. He worked at the Rafael defense technology company for many years, where he was involved in the development of electronic warfare. During the Yom Kippur War, his team deciphered the operation of a Soviet anti-aircraft missile, and developed a system that misdirected the missiles, saving the lives of many pilots. Ben-Zion and the team received two Israel Defense Prizes for developing military technology.
Ben-Zion and his wife Charna have three sons and a daughter, 30 grandchildren and over 70 great-grandchildren.