Mike Jacobs recognized on CAF Veterans Wall of Honor
Prominent Dallas community leader Mike Jacobs came in for added and well-deserved honors when the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland placed a permanent recognition plate on their Veterans Wall of Honor. The brushed aluminum plate will be inscribed “Mike Jacobs, Holocaust Survivor (1939-1945).”
Mike’s life has been fraught with pain, hardship, despair, freedom, love, success and family, as well as accolades for his everlasting perseverance from an appreciative community.
He was born in September 1925 in the small Polish town of Konin, a town whose Jewish community dated back to 1397. Given at birth the name of Mendel Jakubowicz, he later changed it to Mike or Michael Jacobs.
On Sept. 1, 1939, the Nazi Army invaded Poland. Two months later, he and his entire family were herded into cattle cars and moved to the ghetto in Ostrowiecz. His parents, two brothers and two sisters were murdered in the Treblinka death camp. Another brother, Reuben, was later killed while fighting the Nazis with the partisans.
After being a prisoner at the camp Ostrowiecz, he was transported to Auschwitz and Birkenau, both in Poland, and then to Mauthausen-Gusen II in Austria, where he was liberated by the American Army on May 5, 1945. Refusing to remain in a DP (displaced persons) camp, he worked as a shopkeeper in Western Europe, studied physical education in Germany and taught sports to Jewish refugees and German children before receiving his papers. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 with the assistance of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). At the end of the war, he worked for the U.S. Armed Forces.
Jacobs has volunteered extensively as a lecturer and has spoken to thousands — students and adults alike — at high schools, churches, civic groups and universities. His book, “Holocaust Survivor: Mike Jacobs’ Triumph over Tragedy,” was published in 2001. He is founder and past president of the Holocaust Survivors in Dallas and is founder of the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies.
In 1953, Jacobs married his life’s partner, the former Ginger Chesnick, a native Dallasite. They are parents of four children: Mark, Debbie J. Linksman (Wayne), Andy and Reuben. They are also the proud and loving grandparents of Debbie and Wayne’s daughters: Rivka, Leeza, Sarah and Aviva.
A leader in the scrap industry, Mike started Jacobs Iron and Metal Company in 1954, which has evolved in recent years into The Jacobs Group.
Still involved with many organizations within the Jewish community, he continues to be an enthusiastic speaker whenever called upon.
Mike has been a major force in the development of the soccer program in Dallas, and he has many warm memories of the sport, which is near and dear to his heart. After arriving in the United States in 1951, he organized, managed and coached the first soccer team at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas. Through the years, he has been an active participant in soccer events. He became the first registered referee with the U.S.S.F.A. in the area in 1956, and some 10 years later became a professional referee. He has refereed 14 international games as well as many domestic and cup games on all levels. Installed in the North Texas Hall of Fame in July 1976, he also tossed the coin to start the soccer competition at the International Maccabi sports competition in Dallas on Aug. 1, 2005.
The Veterans Wall of Honor at the CAF Airpower Museum has been dedicated to support the operations of this celebrated historic museum by giving permanent recognition to all veterans who served their country in any of the U.S. or Allied armed forces.
The Veterans Wall of Honor is prominently displayed there. Each year, the CAF Airpower Museum hosts a banquet to induct seven individuals into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame. This year, Mike Jacobs was chosen as one of the select seven.
Rabbi Adam Raskin becomes new president of Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas
Congratulations to Rabbi Adam Raskin, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, who has succeeded Shaare Tefilla’s Rabbi Ari Perl as president of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas (RAGD).
“Dallas is blessed with a very talented, inspired rabbinic community,” Raskin said. “We do not meet to make halachic [Jewish legal] decisions. Our purpose is to be a resource to the Dallas Jewish community, and to partner with local agencies to make Jewish life in Dallas even more compelling.”
The Rabbinic Association is currently involved in plans to become incorporated and to approve bylaws. The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas generously funds a part-time administrative assistant to coordinate communication and organization for the RAGD. Rabbi Raskin hopes even more Dallas-area rabbis will get involved in the association. “Denominationalism is really not our concern. We work together as leaders of our Jewish community, and for the benefit of all Dallas Jews. The camaraderie is really very special, and I look forward to the RAGD becoming an even greater presence in our community,” Raskin said.
Harry Kabler: on call for JWV Post 256
Harry Kabler is not only a man for all seasons, but he’s a man that’s on call for all who need his help.
And, his help is gratefully accepted by the Dallas Jewish War Veterans Post 256. Every year, Post members visit all the cemeteries where their comrades are at rest and change out the flags on the graves. Since most of the JWV members are past the age of the hurrahs, they have garnered the help of the Boy Scouts to “assist them.” The kids perform the task enthusiastically.
The JWV, formed in 1876, is the oldest veterans’ organization in America. Bernie Dworkin, a dedicated member of Post 256, tells the TJP, “We are dedicated to attending to our deceased comrades and letting the country know that Jews do not sit at their stores or businesses during times of conflict but are on the firing line with the other members of the American military. We have a sergeant from the Confederacy buried at the Hall Street cemetery. Our comrades are never forgotten.”
Dworkin added, “Harry Kabler is the one that gets all of us together and lines out the where and how. He is and has been a tireless worker for Post 256.”
Mike Jacobs recognized on CAF Veterans Wall of Honor