Jacob was the second child of Gjertrud Gitel (née Koklin, born in 1882 in Kreslavl, Latvia) and Alexander Moses Scharff (born 1882 in Kreuzberg, Latvia). His siblings were Cecilie (born in 1907), Herman Rafael (born in 1911), Julius Meilach (born in 1914) and Jessy (born in 1921). In 1915 the family moved from Oslo to Hønefoss.
Jacob was the family’s musician, first trained on the violin, then as flutenist in the Youth Brass Band (“Ungdomskorps”) of Hønefoss and later in different bands, with his own swing orchestra and in a group called Synco band. He also worked as a music teacher, songwriter and composer.
On 26th October 1942 Jacob was arrested, together with his brother Julius sent to Bredtveit prison and further to Berg prison in the near of Tønsberg. On 26th November 1942 he was deported with the steam boat Donau to Auschwitz via Stettin, together with his father, his brothers Herman and Julius, his sister Jessy, Julius‘ wife Lise Lea as well as their two small sons.
During the selection in Auschwitz on 1st December 1942 Jacob refused the offer to play in the camp orchestra. He died a few days later at an unknown date.
Only the mother Gitel survived in a hospital in Tønsberg and her daughter Cecilie who lived in Copenhagen and could flee to Sweden in 1943.