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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 23 September, 2014

90-year-old Holocaust survivor on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything

Emery Jacoby shares his family’s tragedy online.

Emery Jacoby, speaking to schoolchildren in 2010.
Emery Jacoby, speaking to schoolchildren in 2010.
Image: still via John O/Youtube

THE ASK ME ANYTHING thread on Reddit.com has thrown up some interesting guest posters in its time. We’ve seen everyone from Barack Obama to a very sound Irish garda take to the site to answer any question put to them.

Users of the site often make requests for AMA posters – or suggest one. One user – who calls himself ‘donutdude’ – posted a ‘selfie’ his fit-looking 90-year-old grandfather made of himself in the gym:

donutdude/Reddit

It was so popular, especially when it emerged that the grandfather, Emery Jacoby, was a survivor of the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps, that a request was made for him to come on an AMA thread.

His grandson had written:

he’s up at 5:30 every morning and goes to the gym. i’ve found many bizarre homemade exercise contraptions around his apartment as well.

he was in a labor camp during the holocaust and i think that had a big impact on him. he befriended one of the guards because he was able to do the work faster than anyone else. that’s how he ended up escaping-the guard told him he was going to turn his back for a minute. my grandpa realized why he said it when he saw a motorcycle with keys on the seat. he took the opportunity and left. he has always kept in good shape because it saved his life, i guess.

His grandson posted answers from his grandfather to some of the AMA questions here.

Here is a small selection:

How old were you when you were in the labor camp?

I was taken away when I was 20 years old. My sisters were 22 and 23. They both survived. My parents were 47 and 49-I never saw them again after they were taken.

If you could re-live one moment, what moment would it be?

The day the war ended. It was at that moment I saw life continuing instead of ending. Without that moment I could not have married my wife!

Which concentration camp did you survive? Have you been back to the site since you left?

I survived Dachau. I have never returned as I didn’t want to re-live the memories.

What technology is around today that you thought you’d never live to see? Or what technology has surprised you the most?

I never in my wildest imagination thought I would be able to video with my grandchildren over the telephone. Truly remarkable. They spoke about this possibility at the worlds fair in the 1960’s but I never thought I would see it happen.
Also witnessing what has occurred in the middle east because of the new forms communication has been shocking.

This is Emery Jacoby speaking three years ago to an elementary school in Newark, New Jersey. He gives a strong account of his cruel journey and experiences in the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps:



via John O/Youtube

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