Jakov Lind was born Heinz Landwirth in Vienna, Austria, in 1927. In 1938, when the Nazis occupied Austria, he was sent to Holland, while his parents were taken to a concentration camp, where they died. After the Nazis invaded Holland, Lind escaped once more, this time into the countryside, where he worked on a collective farm. When Jews were forced by the Nazis to live in Amsterdam, Lind obtained forged papers, identifying him as a Dutch farmer with another name; thus he was able to live in Germany and work as a deckhand on a barge on the Rhine.
After the war, Lind moved to Israel, where he lived from 1945 to 1950. Since then he has lived in England and the United States. In his autobiographical work Counting My Steps, Lind has written that fear is the stuff his life was made of: “My roots are fear and fear is the marrow of my bones.”