A lifelong resident of Atlanta, David Jacobi was born in 1962. In March 2017 he came to Kennesaw State University to share the story of his family through the Legacy Series oral history program.
David is the son of a German Holocaust survivor, Helmuth Jacobi, and a British survivor of the Blitz, Betty Decker, who met in the United States in the 1950s. David's father hid in plain sight in Berlin during the war. His mother was evacuated from her home in London to the English countryside.
David became interested in his family's history after the death of his paternal grandparents. His grandfather, Alexander, was originally a native of Schoenlanke, Prussia, and served in the German army during World War I. He came to Berlin seeking economic opportunities after the war, and there he met David's grandmother, Maria. The Jacobi family survived the Holocaust by separating from each other and hiding from the Nazis. They relied on the kindness of friends and strangers and communicated with each other sporadically through notes.. Yet, after the war, Maria's trials were only just beginning.
Picked up by the KGB in 1947 on suspicion of spying for the Americans, Maria spent the next six years of her life imprisoned in a series of Gulags. In 1953, she was finally reunited with her family who had immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia, while she was missing.
In addition to documenting his family's story of survival, David meticulously cared for the clothes and other objects that his grandmother had saved from her Russian ordeal. These simple but evocative artifacts have been on display in the Georgia Journeys exhibition at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education.