Ann Jacobson was born in Berlin, Germany. She had two older siblings and one younger brother. Ann’s father was an executive for a German oil corporation until 1933, when the Nazi government began to exclude businesses with Jewish employees. After her father lost his job, the family sought refuge in Vienna.
Austria was later annexed by Germany, and life became increasingly dangerous. On January 1939, after the horrors of Kristallnacht and frequent visits from the Gestapo, Ann’s parents arranged to send her and her younger brother to safety on a Kindertransport. Luckily, the entire family was approved for immigration to the United States before then. She recalls the difficulty of leaving her hometown, “as a very sad few days filled with tears and sad farewell wishes on both sides. None of those we visited had a way out.”
Ann, her parents, and her younger brother immigrated to Kansas City, Missouri. She married Elliot Jacobson, received a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas, and became actively involved in several community organizations. After moving to Florida, she continued to be an active leader in her community. She was appointed to the statewide task force on Holocaust education and was a founder of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies. Ann served as the founding president of the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida.