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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

INTERVIEWEE:                 JACOB KAHAN

INTERVIEWERS:              MICHELE LESSER

                                         RUTH EINSTEIN

LOCATION:                      ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                              JANUARY 15, 2001

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY:

Jacob Kahan was born in Lodz, Poland on September 13, 1927 to Moses and Malka Kachan, who were manufacturers and owned shoe stores. He had one older sister and one younger sister. When World War II broke out, his father was drafted into the Polish army and never returned. Jacob, his sisters, and mother were sent from Lodz to a ghetto in Krosno. Jacob was soon sent to work at a series of labor and concentration camps in Poland and Germany, including Plaszow, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Czestochowa, and Nordhausen, where he worked as a slave laborer on the construction of V-1 and V-2 rockets. Towards the end of the war, he was sent to Bergen-Belsen. Jacob escaped with some friends and survived in the countryside until the British liberated the area. After the war, Jacob stayed in Germany and searched for his family. His mother and sisters had been murdered in Krosno in 1942. He met and married another survivor in 1948. In 1949, Jacob and his wife immigrated to the United States and settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where Jacob began a painting business. After his first wife’s death in 1958, Jacob remarried. He adopted his wife’s son from her first marriage and the couple had two more sons. Jacob began talking about his experiences in his later years, visited Israel multiple times, and returned once to Poland. He died in 2005. 


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