Jakob Ringart was born in 1925 in Lodz, south-east of Warsaw. His father Isaj was working as a clerk at a large bank and his mother Sara was a housewife. Jakob had two older brothers; Artur and Boleslaw.
In the municipal school that Jakob attended he was one of three Jews out of thirty students. He applied to the Joseph Pilsudski secondary school only to find out that there was no place for him as the number of Jews was limited. Instead Jakob went to a private school. He identified himself as a "Polish boy with a Jewish background" but still he was subject to antisemitism during his school years.
Jakob was 14 years old when the war broke out on 1 September 1939 and German soldiers came marching onto the streets in Lodz.
Later that same autumn, when Jakob was preparing to continue his studies, nothing was the same. All Jewish children were forced to leave school. The names of the streets were changed and Jews were forbidden to walk on the main street that was now called Adolf Hitler Strasse.
The Jews in Lodz were forcibly moved into a ghetto and, at the end of January 1940, Jakob and his family were ordered to leave their apartment.
In the ghetto, Jakob’s father was put in charge of the administrative office that decided where the ghetto inhabitants would live. His mother managed the old people's home. Some of the elderly had been deported to Lodz from Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. Jakob, who had turned fifteen, became an apprentice in the mechanics workshop.
Two years after the ghetto’s establishment the Germans started to deport people. From his window Jakob could see children being brutally loaded onto trucks and being taken away in one of the child deportations that took place.
As the deportations kept going the ghetto grew smaller. The area where Jakob lived was the last one to be emptied. Announcements were posted that told people to “come to the train station in order to be sent to another camp”.
At the end, as the food distribution had stopped, Jakob and his family saw no other way out but to leave the ghetto. When the train stopped at Auschwitz-Birkenau the Jews were subjected to a selection and Jakob was forcibly separated from his mother and father.
1945 and Postwar Experience
From Auschwitz-Birkenau Jakob was taken to a slave labour camp at a factory in Braunschweig. The conditions in the camp were horrible and the work harsh. Due to the lice Jakob was constantly covered in sores and bites.
On May 1st 1945 Jakob and other prisoners were loaded on train wagons. However, due to the heavy bombings of the Allied forces the train never took off and the next day the camp was liberated.
After the liberation Jakob was brought to a camp for displaced persons at Bergen-Belsen. Doctors discovered that he had TBC and suggested that he should receive treatment in Sweden. Thus on July 20, 1945, Jakob arrived to Trelleborg by boat from Lübeck.