NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - His eyes are determined. His focus sharp. His hand steady.
"I find it restful. It takes the stress away," Stephen B. Jacobs said, referring to drawing. "It brings you focused on solving the issues that are at hand."
Jacobs, 79, is still drawing up impressive designs at his architectural firm on Park Avenue. He has worked on residential and hospitality buildings, including the well-known Gansevoort hotels. It's a blessed life; one he feels lucky to live.
"Unfortunately, I remember too much," Jacobs said.
He was 5 when he was liberated from the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp in Germany. It was rare for young children to survive the camps because most weren't strong enough to work. With incredible luck, he was well-hidden inside the camp.
"In the shoemaker shop, we were two little children. We were playing, but people were protecting us," Jacobs said. "I was told, and we understood, that if a German soldier walked into the shop, I was supposed to pull my hat over my head and start banging on a pair of shoes and if someone asked me how old I was I was 16."
Jacobs' entire immediate family—parents and brother—managed to survive the Holocaust. Before Buchenwald, they were imprisoned in ghettos and forced labor camps in Poland.
In the years since, Jacobs has managed to find incredible family pictures and documents, like a list of Buchenwald prisoners with his and his family members' names.
"I think I survived Buchenwald because it was December 3, 1944, and we were liberated April 11," he said, "so I was there less than six months."
However, decades later, Jacobs was called back to that site of horror. This time, he was asked to design a Holocaust memorial at Buchenwald. It opened in 2002. Since then, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Elie Wiesel, and other public figures have visited.
"The one condition to do this was that I wouldn't take any money for it because I didn't want to do it for money," Jacobs said. "For me, this is not about forgiveness, this is about closure. Everything has to come to an end."
But with his 80th birthday just months away, Jacobs is still looking forward to new beginnings.