by Kerry Schauber
Jacob Eisenman was born Jakub Ajzenman in Warsaw, Poland in 1920 to Szaps and Cypa Ajzenman. Although he rarely spoke later of his wartime experience, he would later tell his children that he had escaped Warsaw alone, having been unable to convince his family to leave with him. He met his wife Wiera in a Russian work camp. In 1946, he registered as a Holocaust survivor in Legnica, Poland, several hours from his Warsaw home, where his profession is listed as krawiec, tailor. In Legnica, he tried to locate the family he’d left behind, but no survivors could be found. Happily, a cousin in New York offered to sponsor his relocation to the States, and in October of 1960 he appears on a ship’s registry, arriving in New York with his family—Wiera and four children. They soon settled in Rochester, and another son was born in the US.
With his tailoring experience, Mr. Eisenman found work at Projansky Furs in downtown Rochester. A Democrat and Chronicle article on June 7, 1967, lists Rochester residents who had taken American citizenship the day before, and Jakub and Wiera—now Jacob and Vera Eisenman—are included in that list. Later, Mr. Eisenman opened his own tailor shop on Titus Avenue in Irondequoit (Jacob’s Tailor Shop is still open, although under new management). In 1986, Jacob and Vera sold the shop and moved to Florida, but returned a few years later. Their son David has fond memories of visiting the Jewish Community Center with his father later in his life. The missing years of Mr. Eisenman’s early life were hinted at with one sentence from his 2009 obituary: “Jacob is the sole Holocaust survivor from a family of eight.”