Holocaust Survivor Dr. Jacob Eisenbach will be the special guest speaker at Chabad at the Ski Run Marina in South Lake Tahoe at 7 p.m. July 13.
Eisenbach was born in Poland in 1923. Nicknamed “Kuba” by his father, Eisenbach grew up in a loving household with all of the hopes and dreams of any family — he was to be a doctor, his brother, Sam, an author, his sister dreamed of a career as a pharmacist. That all changed when Hitler’s army invaded Poland in 1939.
The Jewish ghetto in Eisenbach’s hometown of Lodz became a fenced prison camp. The family was torn apart. His mother died before the invasion, his father in a forced labor camp, his brother Henry at Auschwitz at age 11. His sister was killed by machine gun fire in the city of Lwow, where Nazis killed more than 100,000 Jews in three days. Only Jacob and Sam were left alive, hiding out and fending for themselves.
Sam and Jacob were eventually captured and taken to a work camp in Skarżysko, Poland, where they were forced to work in a munitions factory. They were later moved to a second munitions factory, where Jacob met a young woman, Irene, who was to become the love of his life. Amidst the horror and oppression, love bloomed.
“I tell students, We have every reason to be angry. We have every reason to give up on humanity. But we cannot give up on humanity,” says Eisenbach.
Sadly, Sam survived the war only to be murdered by an anti-Semite two years after the end of the war.
After surviving the war, Jacob and Irene moved to Germany where he studied dentistry, becoming a doctor as his father had dreamed. They later immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Cedar Rapids, where they had three sons, and Dr. Eisenbach set up practice.
In the early 1970s, Jacob and Irene moved to California and he set up a dental practice in Anaheim Hills. Irene passed away in 2013, but Eisenbach continued to practice dentistry until last year when he retired at the age of 93.
“If I face a stressful situation, I stop and think for a moment about my experience under the Nazis. It doesn’t begin to compare, I consider myself to be very lucky,” he said.
His devoted patients continue to think of him fondly, even after retirement. Among the Amazon reviews of his biography, one reader writes: “Dr. Eisenbach has been my dentist for over 30 years, and I am saddened that he has just retired at the age of 92. This man is as sharp as a tack, and to read about his history is just amazing. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history, especially the internment camps the Jews were subjected to in World War II. His story is amazing and an inspiration to everyone that you can survive and succeed.”
Dr. Eisenbach shares these life lessons:
No matter how dark the clouds may be, there will always be a day when the sun breaks through.
Never lose hope for a better tomorrow. It has happened to me many times.
Do not accept ideas of hatred, discrimination, and intolerance. It is those ideas that lead to the Holocaust, during which 6 million Jews died.
Do what you can to prevent and eliminate genocide.
For information and to RSVP to the event at Lake Tahoe, go to JewishTahoe.com/Remember, or call 530-314-7677.