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 Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs

Death 3 Jan 1978 (aged 59)
California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: most likely, Pacific Ocean
Memorial ID 17386185 · View Source
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Journalist and author, editor, broadcaster, activist in many causes, radical campaigner, teacher, and documentary filmmaker, Paul never slowed down in his long battle with the atomic establishment.

An historic and whistle-blowing film "Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,"* directed and produced by Saul Landau and Penny Bernstein, documents the coming of the atomic age and is based on Paul Jacob's interviews, testimonies and research in uncovering the web of cover-ups by the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. government regarding the uses and outcome of atomic testing and low-level radiation in the Nevada desert in the 1950's and 1960's. This documentary film was instrumental in creating changes in law and in 1965, the Kennedy administration signed "no atomic testing" legislation.

Jacobs also authored "Prelude to Riot - a View of Urban America from the Bottom" and co-authored with Saul Landau "The New Radicals; a Report with Documents" sponsored by the Center for Study of Democratic Institutions, in 1966.

Jacobs also taught at the University of California, broadcast on KQED, and ran as the Peace and Freedom candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Jacobs was born in New York, in a middle class family. He ended his formal education at Townsend Harris High School and moved into radical politics. He met his wife, Ruth, at a Trotskyist rally in New York's Union Square, where he was making a fiery speech. She joined him as an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and for the Oil Workers Union. Later she became a lawyer representing clients in free speech, anti-discrimination, and other civil liberties cases. Ruth died of a heart attack in 1977.

According to the obit in the "San Francisco Chronicle," Paul had more fun than most revolutionaries and a far broader social circle. Though he could be loud and intimidating and manage to inject controversy into the most ordinary social situations, he attracted hundreds of friends of many beliefs and persuasions to his home on Pacific Heights.

"Look," he once told someone who protested that he was always making trouble. "Some people are mediators and some are agitators. It takes both of us."

Jacobs returned to Utah to keep working and fighting as long as he could, interviewing those exposed in the atomic tests for the film, only interrupting for a month of cancer treatments in Houston. On January 2, he flew back to San Francisco to Mt. Zion Hospital, where Clifford, his brother (a retired toy manufacturing executive) and sole survivor, flew from Los Angeles to be with him. Paul Jacobs died the next day at age 59 from acute radioactive poisoning obtained by fallout "hot spots" in the Nevada desert.

Services were held at Temple Emanu-El with Rabbi Joseph Asher officiating. Filmmaker, author and scholar Saul Landau (who also teaches at American University) told me Paul Jacobs was cremated.
*See also Sgt. James Major Bradey Gates, Jr., who was interviewed by Paul in the documentary.

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  • Created by: msb
  • Added: 11 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17386185
  • msb
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Paul Jacobs (24 Aug 1918–3 Jan 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17386185, ; Maintained by msb (contributor 19937462) Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, who reports a most likely, Pacific Ocean.