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Emil Jacoby

Self-Portrait -DSC_0046 - Optimized.jpg

Artist – Emil Jacoby 1923- 1998

Title –   Self-Portrait

Theme- Portraits

Medium – Pencil

Date – 1991

Size –   15.24x20.32 cm

Code – DSC0046

© June 11, 2002 by Rachel Borenstein PA1-106-667

The artist was born Emil Jacobovitz in 1923 in Bushtina, Czechoslovakia, now part of Ukraine, his ancestors founded the town in 1817.  Jacoby left home in 1929 to go to Budapest, Hungary. In March 1944, Jacoby was conscripted into a Nazi Labor camp.  He was the only survivor from his family and was liberated from Feldbach’s work camp in Germany in May 1945.


After surviving Mauthausen, the young, multilingual Jacoby – fluent in Czech, English, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew – found work at a factory in Nachod, Czechoslovakia.


He immigrated to Israel in 1949, married Betty Jacoby Bercu and was one of the founders of the modern city of Beth Shemesh and fought in the Six-Day War.  In 1969, the year he fulfilled his dream and moved to the U.S. with his wife and daughters. He first lived in Long Beach, L.I. then Brooklyn and finally Grasmere in 1982. He died in 1998.


Emil Jacoby never shared his memories of the Holocaust but when he retired at 60 he dedicated the rest of his life to the Holocaust.


Jacoby created a fifth question relating to the Holocaust for the Holocaust Hagada that he wrote. The family reads Emil’s Hagada during the Passover Seder. He wanted families to discuss the Holocaust and never forget what happened.


Emil Jacoby won a Nova award for a SICTV documentary, “The Fifth Question.” His autobiography is in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.


Emil Jacoby’s poem – My Memories was selected in 2000 to represent the Poem of the Millennium by


Jacoby’s art was exhibited on June 25, 2011, during Holocaust survivors and their families’ annual gathering event – “Cafe Europa” in Staten Island.


Working in charcoal, pen, and ink, watercolor and oil Emil Jacoby’s exhibit reveals the power and grace of his collected artist visions from the 1930s through the late 1990s.  The artwork represents four themes: Portraits, The Shtetel – Jewish life in Europe, Israel, and Nature.

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