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  • Writer's pictureWendell Maxey

Emil Jacoby’s Art and Story Still Resonates All These Years Later

The picture drawn by Emil Jacoby has become synonymous with the Staten Island Holocaust Center.

It’s featured on the SIHC website. It’s been highlighted on a variety of social media posts. It's even integrated into the SIHC logo. It depicts five unknown individuals, some branded by a Jewish star in 1944. Simply put, it’s another piece of art by the former Staten Island resident and Holocaust survivor that remains relevant today in countless ways. 

That’s the underlying beauty of Emil Jacoby’s collection, despite the heartache he captured on canvas, in pencil, in pen, and with paint across Israel, the Shtetel, and from his personal experiences with the Holocaust

That's just part of his story.

It has been nearly 28 years since Emil sat down for roughly a four-hour interview as part of USC Shoah Foundation Institute's testimony series. In an interview that took place on December 18, 1995, Emil Jacoby shared intimate details about his incredible journey from growing up in Czechoslovakia, to surviving the Holocaust, and eventually being able to paint, draw, and sketch unforgettable memories that haunted him for years. Not only did Emil recount these personal and heartfelt life experiences, but thankfully they were captured in video as well.

Testimonials like Emil's continue to help move Holocaust Education forward. The interview with USC Shoah Foundation Institute remains a special addition to our growing online archive where Staten Island Holocaust Center continues to compile these moments in history with Emil Jacoby, and other Holocaust survivors across the world. According to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute:

In 1994, after the filming of Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation with the aim of videotaping 50,000 first-person accounts by Holocaust survivors and witnesses.

The massive global documentation effort began with the first interview on April 18, 1994. The foundation trained 2,300 interviewer candidates in 24 countries, hired 1,000 videographers, and recruited more than 100 regional coordinators and staff in 34 countries to organize the interviewing process in their respective regions.

Between 1994 and 2000, interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses took place in 56 countries and were conducted in 32 languages. The interviewing methodology was developed in consultation with Holocaust historians, psychologists, and experts in the field of oral history. The life history format of the interview meant interviewees discussed their lives before, during, and after the Holocaust. The organization’s trainings, interviewer guidelines, and videographer guidelines ensured that the interviews would be conducted with a consistent approach.

Thank you to the USC Shoah Foundation Institution for including Emil Jacoby in their prestigious interview series.

Learn More About Emil Jacoby



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