Benjamin Jacobs - World Renowned Holocaust Survivor
It was extremely difficult for anyone who entered into a Holocaust death camp to survive. Of the many millions who were forced into this horrible situation by the Nazis, only about 1% are known to have survived the experience. Being placed into a Holocaust death camp was a terrifying ordeal that taxed the mind, body, and spirit to the absolute limits.
People in the Holocaust camps were often forced to go without food, water, and the basics of human survival. It is no surprise, then, that for the most part there was nothing in the way of medical care. It was important that people in the camps denied any form of illness. If they were found to be sick, then they were likely to be executed by the guards.
Benjamin Jacobs was a dental student who was within his first year of training at the time he was arrested and deported to a series of camps. This included Auschwitz, one of the largest and most notorious, which was hidden in the wilderness of Poland at the time.
As a trained dentist and one of the only Auschwitz prisoners who had a medical background, Benjamin Jacobs used his skills in order to help other people survive. By removing teeth and treating his fellow prisoners in other ways, he ensured that the pain of their dental issues would not alert the guards and cause them to fall under scrutiny that might result in death.
After the end of the war, Benjamin Jacobs became one of the most outspoken Holocaust survivors. He toured the United States and other locations speaking about what he had experienced and the people he had tried to help. He also published a memoir by the title “The Dentist of Auschwitz.”
Benjamin Jacobs was not the only prisoner of the concentration camps who worked hard to use his skills to help others. At different times and in different camps, there were several situations where Jewish and other prisoners used their professional skills. Musicians would often try to uplift the spirits of their fellow prisoners or even make a human connection with the guards. Machinists were able to protect some prisoners by claiming that they were necessary to the work that they were forced to do under the Nazi’s slave labor regime.
Benjamin Jacobs’ story is an example of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds, and he has left a great legacy as a survivor.