Chaja Polak 5/11/1941 The Hague, he Netherlands (lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands) My life was to a large degree determined by World War 2 and the Shoah, me going into hiding at five different addresses, the killing of my father, Hans Polak, in Dachau, and by my mother’s life; she survived Auschwitz-Birkenau (Annetje Fels-Kupferschmidt, chaired for many years the Dutch Auschwitz Committee). Initially, a large part of my life, I could not express my experiences in words and sought refuge in visual language i Read more...nstead. As a youngster, I drew always and everywhere. Later, when I was raising my two sons, I followed evening classes at the Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam. Subsequently, I exhibited widely and also taught drawing and painting. At my 48th I finally found the correct words and published my first collection of stories: “Zomaar een Vrijdagmiddag” (Amber Publishing House, 1989) (“Some Friday Afternoon”; the book deals with ways children handle their damaged parents’ war experiences) followed by ample others, novels, short stories, as well as poems, some translated from the Dutch to other languages. My literary as well as my visual body of works – drawings, paintings, and graphical works - bear witness of the suffering caused by the Shoah and the incomprehension and closing of the eyes of this terrible episode by a large part of the environment of the survivors and their descendants. My most recent book, “The Man who Did not Hate Jews” - my only non-fiction book – deals with this topic and is a testimony of this ignorance as it occurs in The Netherlands as well as of the maneuvering by some so-called experts of that tragic history. The book gave rise to much discussion in The Netherlands. Rather than through words, the submitted drypoint, “Vrede” (“Peace”) is a visual expression of the same topic.

Skills: drypoint


11th Biennial
10th Biennial