Julia Polak Bolle

Julia Polak Bolle

Born: July 17, 1914

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Julia, her brother and two sisters grew up in Amsterdam in a religious, Zionist Jewish family. The Polak family could trace its roots in the Netherlands back 200 years. Julia attended a Jewish school, and she was proficient in Hebrew.

1933-39: Julia loved to study and teach the Hebrew language. As a leader of Zionist youth, Julia spoke to many groups about creating a Jewish home in Palestine [Yishuv]. Her boyfriend was also involved in Zionist work, and in 1938 they were married. The couple became part of a training program, called "hachshara" in Hebrew, which prepared Jewish youth for agricultural work in Palestine.

1940-44: The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. In July 1943, as part of a Dutch agreement with the Germans, Julia and her husband were placed on a list of Jews to go to Palestine in exchange for a group of Germans who were living there. They were deported first to the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands, and eight months later to the Bergen-Belsen camp. There they were housed with Jewish prisoners designated for exchange. But the exchange never materialized; they were kept at Bergen-Belsen as forced laborers until 1945.

Two days after Julia and her husband were liberated on April 15, 1945, 31-year-old Julia died of typhus. Her husband survived.

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.