Holocaust Survivor Tells Students He Was “Just A Number”
A Holocaust survivor of World War II Nazi concentration camps, Michael Jacobs, spoke of his experiences and insights to Tecumseh Middle School students on May 18.
That November , 14-year-old Mendel Jakubowicz (Michael Jacobs) and his family were thrown out of their home and transported by railroad boxcar to a ghetto in Ostroweic, Poland.
One of Jacobs’ duties while at Ostroweic was to collect items from empty Jewish homes. It was not uncommon for him to come across an infant left behind by families who knew they were doomed to die in death camps.
“The families thought if they left the babies, the children might have a chance to live. No chance,” Jacobs said. “We took the babies to a tall building. They were thrown out of the windows for German soldiers to shoot.”
In 1943, 17-year-old Jacobs was moved to the infamous death camp, Auschwitz.
“I remember being relieved getting out of the boxcar. They were so crowded, 75, 100 people in each car. The prison orchestra played for us. But, the air smelled of smoke and burnt human skin,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs organized the Holocaust survivors in the Dallas area and founded the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies, which opened on April 15, 1984.
Following his lecture about his life and times in concentration camps, Jacobs presented a slide show of photographs taken by the Nazis and of personal pictures of his post-war visits to Poland and Germany.
The photos showed the concentration camps, rooms filled with suitcases, shoes, and other items taken from prisoners, and the gas chambers.
Jacobs also showed the students artifacts of his time in the camps, the cap he wore, a pair of child’s shoes, and a bar of soap the Nazis made out of human fat.
As Jacobs presented the slide show and artifacts, he repeated the same three words, “Nobody can deny.”
Jacobs lectures throughout the region on the Holocaust. His book, Holocaust Survivor: Mike Jacobs’ Triumph Over Tragedy, is in its eighth printing.
Copyright © 2007 Tecumseh Countywide News & Shawnee Sun. All Rights Reserved.
Thursday, May 31, 2007