Mike Jacobs was born Mendel Jakubowicz in 1925 in the small Polish town of Konin, a town whose Jewish community dated back to 1397.
On September 1, 1939, when he was just 14 years old, the Nazi Army invaded Poland. Two months later, the Jakubowicz’s were tightly packed into a boxcar with 75 to 100 others in what he refers to as “our living room, dining room, bathroom and cemetery.” They traveled that way for three days and three nights with no food or water and nowhere to lie down to sleep as they were moved to the ghetto in Ostrowiec. His parents, two brothers and two sisters were later murdered in the Treblinka death camp. Another brother was killed while fighting the Nazis with the partisans.
Jacobs was sent to the camp Ostroweic and subsequently transported to Auschwitz (Poland), Birkenau (Poland) and Mathausen-Gusen II (Austria). Americans liberated him from Mathausen-Gusen II on May 5, 1945.
Refusing to remain in a DP (displaced persons) Camp, Jacobs worked as a shopkeeper in Western Europe, studied physical education in Germany, and taught sports to Jewish refugees and German children before receiving his papers to immigrate to the United States in 1951.
Jacobs started his own company in 1954, Jacobs Iron and Metal, a scrap metal recycling company. He retired in the 1990s and sold the company 2001. His first experience in scrap recycling was during his time at the Auschwitz labor camp as it was one of his assignments while there.
Jacobs has volunteered extensively as a lecturer on the Holocaust and has appeared before high schools, churches, civic groups and universities. He is founder and past president of the Holocaust Survivors in Dallas and founder of the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies dedicated to the memory of the 11 million souls - 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews - who perished at the hands of the Nazis from 1939-1945.
Mike Jacobs passed away on July 28, 2014 surrounded by the people he loved and cherished most in life. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ginger, four children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Mike always ensured that his message of the Holocaust and his survival was heard by anyone he met and anyone who would listen. He left a lasting impression on hundreds of thousands of people especially students and those in the Dallas/Fort Worth community. May his memory be a blessing.