Yaakov was born in 1926 on Ostrowiec, Poland, an only child. He studied in the Hebrew Gymnasium in Bialystok. When he was thirteen, at age 1939, World War II broke out and he could not continue study. His parents were taken to the camps. Out of all their possessions, he was able to save a bag of diamonds which he carried on his person, and thus he survived.
In 1945, at the end of the war, he joined the Polish Army and was made a lieutenant. In 1947, he arrived in the Land of Israel on Mapilim ship Wedgwood. He settled in Haifa and started studying in the Technion. He immediately joined the Lehi and was active in the Haifa branch, in the operations division, under Yaakov “Yoram” Aharoni. He then moved to Tel Aviv, and he took part in the Barclays Bank robbery on Allenby Street, under Blond Dov.
After the Partition Plan, he joined the Lehi base at Sheikh Munis, focusing on organizing and training to respond to Arab attacks. He was behind the grand enlistment ceremony on 28.5.1948, when Lehi’s members joined the IDF. Yaakov was assigned to Battalion 82 of the 8th Brigade, as a deputy company commander. He fought in all the battalion’s battles. Shortly before the end of the War of Independence, he was transferred to the Air Force to assume senior administrative positions. When he was demobilized in 1949, he joined HaNokmim (The Avengers), who targeted Nazi war criminals. He spent a few months in Europe.
When he returned to Israel, he pursed his studies at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. To support himself, he worked at Mekorot whenever he had school holidays, drilling in the Negev and putting in water pipes. Yaakov then went to Switzerland to study political science and international relations. He was fluent in many languages and published a book of civil aviation rules (which he dedicated to his parents, who perished in the Holocaust). He was then sent to the international transportation institute of the UN as transportation consultant for developing countries in Africa. He lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He even lectured at university for a time, which is how he earned the title of professor.
He married, and they had a daughter, but the marriage broke up soon afterward. After returning from his travels in Europe, he brought bones and ashes of the martyrs back with him. Overwhelmed by the horrors of the Holcaust, he would isolate himself in his apartment. His precarious mental state led to his being hospitalized.
Yaakov passed away in 1976, and he was buried in the Holon Cemetery.