Marking the New Year

From Our Collections

Aharon Jakobson with fellow members of the "Front of the Wilderness Generation" in the Łódź ghetto

Aharon Jakobson (second from left, wearing black shirt), Zionist activist and youth leader in the Łódź ghetto, with fellow members of the "Front of the Wilderness Generation", celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the ghetto. Łódź, September 1942
Aharon Jakobson (center, wearing white shirt), with fellow members of the "Front of the Zionist Youth", dancing with a Torah scroll on the holiday of Simchat Torah. Łódź ghetto, October 1943
Aharon Jakobson with his parents, Nachman and Rivka.  Łódź ghetto, 1943
Łódź ghetto photographer Mendel Grossman (from right), with Aharon Jakobson by his side
Aharon Jakobson, Zionist activist and youth leader in the Łódź ghetto, founder of the "Front of the Wilderness Generation" movement in the ghetto. Łódź, 1941
Members of the "Front of the Wilderness Generation" youth movement in the Łódź ghetto

Nachman and Rivka Jakobson and their children Sonia (b. 1915), Aharon (b. 1919) and Moshe (b. 1925), lived in Łódź, Poland.  Nachman owned a textile business with his brother.  The family was Zionist in outlook, and maintained a traditional Jewish lifestyle.  Aharon was active in the "Hanoar Hazioni" youth movement.

In March 1940, the Jakobsons were incarcerated in the Łódź ghetto, together with all the city's Jews.  In August, Aharon Jakobson created the "Front of the Wilderness Generation" youth movement in the ghetto, whose original core group comprised graduates from the Zionist-leaning Jewish professional school.  Their mission was the unification of the Zionist youth movements with the aim of centralizing activities in the fields of welfare, education and defense against the negative influences in the ghetto.  The members, who numbered some 400 members, were not asked to abandon their political affiliations, just to defer their aspirations until after the war. 

In 1942, youngsters who had been deported from the surrounding towns joined the Front of the Wilderness Generation. In September they merged with "Hanoar Hazioni", and the movement's name was changed to the "Front of the Zionist Youth".  Aharon was also a member of the Kibbutz Committee in Marysin, an agricultural area within the confines of the ghetto that attracted the ghetto's Zionist movements and youngsters, who established an agricultural farm there.

In 1942, Aharon's younger brother contracted lung disease, and his condition gradually deteriorated.  17-year-old Moshe died in July 1942 and was buried in the cemetery in the ghetto.  With the ghetto's liquidation in August 1944, the Jakobsons were deported to Auschwitz.  Nachman and Rivka were murdered there, and Aharon was murdered a few months later at Gleiwitz, one of the sub-camps of Auschwitz.  Sonia survived and immigrated to Israel in 1948.