The Norman Transcript

Headlines

March 31, 2011

Holocaust survivor shares his experience

NORMAN — Even when a deathly fate seemed like the only escape, Mike Jacobs’ hope never died.

It’s this spirit he repeatedly credited to his survival, as millions of lives — including his entire family — were claimed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“So long as you have hope. So long as you have belief, you can get through anything,” said Jacobs, 86, author of “Holocaust Survivor: Mike Jacobs’ Triumph Over Tragedy,” to a crowd of teachers and eighth-grade students at Whittier Middle School on Tuesday, when he recounted his survival story as part of the students’ unit on the Holocaust.

Jacobs, creator of the Holocaust Museum in Dallas, Texas, who immigrated to the United States in 1951, was freed on May 5, 1945, from a concentration camp near Linz, Austria — one of five camps he was shuttled between.

That was six years after the Nazis raided his hometown in Konin, Poland, and crammed him and his family into a windowless boxcar (normally built to shuttle 12 cows) with 75 others.

And that was after his left arm was stamped with number B4990 — along with a scar on his head marking where he was hit with a bullwhip — branding those six years on him forever.

He was 14 years old then, and 19 when he and others made the 10-mile walk to the soup kitchen in Linz after American soldiers broke through the concentration camp’s gates.

He weighed 70 pounds.

“I said, ‘Sister, there’s something wrong with the scale,’” he recalled saying to a nun at a soup kitchen in Linz after he stepped on. “She said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with it.’ I stepped on it again and couldn’t believe it.”

And despite his scrawny frame, his wife, Ginger Jacobs, said he faired better physically and emotionally than most.

While in the camp, Jacobs remembers waking at 6 a.m. in a bunk with five others, standing naked at attention in the freezing cold, eating small pieces of bread and soup and aiming for a small bathroom hole.

“God bless you if you missed. You were clobbered to death,” Jacobs said.

Lajuana Pierce, eighth-grade math teacher, said Jacobs’ positive outlook throughout was notable, commenting on it also to her students sitting near her during his presentation.

“If you thought negative, you would get weak,” Jacobs said. “Never forget how beautiful it is to be free.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • movieposter Movie about Moore tornado survivors premieres May 16

    MOORE — Exploring ideas of faith and hope, an Oklahoma faith-based documentary on the May 20, 2013, EF-5 Moore tornado is scheduled to premiere at the Moore Warren Theatre May 16....

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • Police arrest man connected to homicide

    Norman Police have arrested Abid Sandhu, 37 years old, of Norman, on a complaint of Murder in the First Degree. Formal charges have yet to be filed. At approximately 3:35 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Police Communications Center received a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Cody’s Run raises $14,000

    Cody Ponder’s positive attitude was infectious even while he struggled with esophageal cancer. He always worked to help others and his giving spirit inspired a 5k race to benefit struggling patients. Last year Cody’s family organized a run ...

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Former mayor files for county office

    Local physician and former Norman Mayor Harold Haralson recently filed his candidacy for the Cleveland County Commission District 3 seat....

    April 20, 2014

  • Selling Norman is love at first sight

    Meeting planners who make a site visit to Norman tend to fall in love, convention and hospitality experts said this week. The staff of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau are commissioned with the job of promoting tourism and selling ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Green House is a homegrown business

    Nancy Muenzler was a banker in her previous life. That was before the Green House, 1708 SW 24th Street, became her passion....

    April 20, 2014

  • Conan’s martial arts moves downtown

    Conan’s Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing, Jujitsu, MMA Academy is celebrating the grand opening of a new facility right in the heart of downtown Norman at 310 E. Main St. Founded in 1996 by four-time World Kickboxing Champion Scott “Conan” ...

    April 20, 2014