Born: February 28, 1926
Jacob was the eldest of three sons born to religious Jewish parents in the city of Krakow. His father was a flour merchant. The Wassermans spent summer vacations near Proszowice at a farm owned by their grandfather, who also ran a flour mill.
1933-39: In March 1939, at the age of 13, Jacob celebrated his bar-mitzvah. That summer, his family vacationed as usual at his grandfather's farm. They returned to a nightmare. Krakow had been occupied by the Germans on September 6. Jews were not allowed to walk on the sidewalks, to ride streetcars, or even to own radios. Jacob and his family were even afraid to walk in the streets because Jews were often kidnapped and beaten.
1940-45: In 1940, Jacob's family retreated to the farm. Early one Saturday, the Jews in the area were rounded up. They were being marched into Proszowice when a Polish policeman—two dead bodies next to him—motioned to Jacob demanding why he hadn't greeted him "Good morning." As Jacob came closer the policeman loaded his gun and pointed it at him. But as Jacob passed, the policeman bashed him with the barrel, smashing his nose and jaw. Jacob broke away and lost himself in the column; the policeman shot someone else instead. Four days later Jacob and his father were deported to the Prokocim camp.
Jacob spent the rest of the war in labor camps. In 1947 he attempted to immigrate illegally to Palestine, but was detained in Cyprus by the British. He settled in Israel in 1948.