Yaakov was born on March 3, 1921 in Lodz, Poland, to Hayim Simcha and Rachel. Their home was Hasidic and nationalist, and he studied in cheder and yeshiva. He joined the Brit Hashmona’im youth movement. He was very active in the movement. He planned to make aliyah, but his plans were scuttled when war broke out.
He went through all of the terrors of war, beginning with the bombing of Warsaw (until Poland surrendered to Germany). He was in the ghetto, and then he went through a number of concentration camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Gleiwitz, et cetera. On January 15,1945 he set out on the Death March, which took twenty days. He was finally liberated at Buchenwald. While his parents perished in the Holocaust, his sister survived and had a family of her own. She passed away a few years ago.
On July 17,1945 Yaakov arrived in the Land of Israel. After a short period of time, he joined Lehi. He was sent to a military course. At the end of March, he finished a commanders’ course, and he was appointed as the supervisor of a group. During and after the course, he took part in many operations, such as attacking the army base in Holon, attacking the airfield at Kfar Syrkin, and confiscating weapons at the army base on HaYarkon Street. He took part in the attack on the Haifa Railway Workshops, but when the gate was blown up, he was wounded. Nevertheless, he continued with the operation. As the fighters were retreating, they hit a British ambush, but Yaakov managed to jump into a car and escape. He reached Kibbutz Usha, where he received medical treatment. He was part of the operation to blow up the Tel Aviv-Jaffa CID, but his leg and arm were seriously injured. After recovering, he was assigned to Dept. 6.
He married Aliza Gitler, who had recruited him for Lehi, and they had two children.
He worked for the Herut Company for forty years. He was a senior manager in charge of many major projects, such as: building the city of Ashdod, the power station, the Port of Ashdod and many factories. For the past decade, due to his disability and pain caused by his injuries, he worked as a payroll clerk. After retirement, he was active in the national organization of Herut pensioners.
He volunteers as an instructor and lecturer at Beit Yair.