Dr. Julius Zubli: Dutch Physician and Honored Rescuer

Last Updated: Friday, September 15, 2017

Washington D.C. (May 6, 2002) - A medal and certificate were posthumously awarded recently to Dr. Julius Zubli, a Dutch physician whose heroic and humanitarian actions saved several Jews during the Holocaust of World War II.

Westlake Village, Calif., residents Rudolph and Julda Joon, along with twenty members of the Joon family, several from Europe, gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. on May 6th to witness the poignant ceremony.

Particularly moving was the appearance of a Holocaust survivor who was saved by Dr. Zubli, who came from Israel to give his personal testimony as part of the 90-minute presentation attended by more than 500 people.

Dr. Zubli's name will be added to those who are called "Righteous Among the Nations" for their actions in saving Jews. Their names are inscribed on a wall of honor in the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

"I feel very proud, especially for my children," Julda Joon said of the honor bestowed on her father. "It's so meaningful for them to have him as an example."

Speaking about the emotional ceremony, she said, "It brought back so many memories of those war years."

Julda recalls one incident vividly.

She was a girl of 12 in Amsterdam and when she witnessed one of her father's courageous actions to save the Jewish family living in the apartment above theirs. When the Gestapo came to take the family to a concentration camp, her father lied, saying that one of the boys had scarlet fever and was quarantined for six weeks. As a member of the Dutch underground, Zubli later arranged for the family members to hide on a Dutch farm.

It was one of the sons of that rescued family, a man now in his 70s, who came from Israel for the ceremony to tearfully tell his story and bear witness to Zubli's actions.

Zubli himself was later sent to a German concentration camp for giving medical aid to an underground leader. However, it was the quick reaction of her mother that saved her father's life immediately after his arrest, Julda said.

"I remember that day so well," she said. Her mother dressed up beautifully to impress the German police and hurried to police headquarters to retrieve the patient notebook her husband always carried with him.

The Gestapo suspiciously checked the book a number of times, reluctant to give it back to her. She insisted the book was needed by the replacement doctor to continue treatments for Dr. Zubli's patients.

"It was a good thing she got it back," said Rudolph Joon. The book contained code names of people in the Dutch Underground, plus details of escape routes throughout Europe.

"If the Gestapo had learned that, he would have been killed," Joon said.

The reunion of family members for the occasion took place amid great security at the Israeli Embassy due to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit.

"It was the very day he had to go back to Israel because of the suicide bombing," said Rudolph.

Although he wasn't Jewish, Julda said her father was a "humanist" who would have helped anyone.

The Joon family has donated the doctor's concentration camp striped uniform and identification bracelet to the U.S. Holocaust Museum.