Holocaust survivor shares survival story with students

By Matt Porter

February 26, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Dina Jacobson never imagined she'd share her story of surviving a concentration camp with anyone.

That's because the 90-year-old never thought she'd make it out alive.

But 23 years ago, she started speaking at schools, most recently at Vestal High School.

Her approach is simple, she takes a seat and begins answering students' questions.

'Every night," she said to one student, "They came in to pick people to go to the gas chamber, we never knew who was going to live or who was going to die."

For students, it was a chance to learn history from the source.

"I was thinking every minute, we will be dead, nothing else," she said to another student.

Jacobson was taken to Auschwitz when she was 16 years old. On Tuesday, she addressed a class full of 16-year-old students.

"Whatever they ask," she said, "I answer, I answer the question."

The memories are painful.

"Every half hour the train comes, with little babies, mothers holding the babies, they all went to the gas chamber," Jacobson recounted. "Can you imagine, I saw that every half hour, every day, every night, every minute."

Jacobson said she came within feet of entering the gas chamber. But as the war was near its end, she was spared.

She said it was a miracle.

But Brian Adessa, who first brought Jacobson to school, said it was more than that.

"Her being here today, is so important to these young kids, and that's why she survived, and that's why she's here today," Adessa said.

Jacobson's message to students was clear.

"Don't be mean to people, don't kill, don't hate anybody because the end, the hating, you'll start to hate yourself," Jacobson said.