Did Jakob and Bella End Up Together in Real Life?

We Were the Lucky Ones

In the fifth episode of Hulu’s historical drama series ‘We Were the Lucky Ones,’ Bella decides to leave Radom believing that she is a burden to her parents. Despite Jakob’s best efforts to dissuade her from leaving him, she is determined to find a new job outside the city. Bella’s decision to leave the place, where Jakob’s parents are still living, affects their relationship. In reality, however, Jakob and Maryla, the inspiration behind the character Bella, didn’t separate for good. They remained together throughout World War II and found a way to escape from Europe to build a new family!

The Inseparable Jakob and Bella

In Georgia Hunter’s ‘We Were the Lucky Ones,’ the source novel of the Hulu series, Jakob and Bella do not break up. They manage to remain together despite the atrocities they face along with their families. A year after Halina rescues Adam from a work camp by posing as a German woman married to him, Jakob and Bella escape from a work camp factory located in Radom. After a considerable while, they board a German train to Stuttgart from the Polish city of Łódź. By then, Bella gives birth to a boy named Victor. In reality, as the book depicts, Jakob and Maryla went to Germany to find a way to leave Europe and end up in the United States.

In Stuttgart, Jakob and Maryla sought refuge in the Displaced Persons camp, where they were able to find a fully furnished apartment. While living in the German city, they hoped to emigrate to Illinois, where Maryla’s uncle lived at the time. The couple found food, clothing, and essentials at an office that belonged to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. They frequently visited the U.S. Consulate General’s office to check their emigration status, especially after receiving a telegram from Maryla’s uncle, which revealed that he had been working on sponsoring them. According to Hunter’s novel, Jakob and Maryla eventually found a way to board SS Marine Perch, a refugee ship that carried Jews to the United States in 1946.

Jakob and Maryla’s journey separated them from the rest of the Kurc family, who eventually reunited with the former’s brother Addy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “The only people missing are Jakob, Bella, and Victor. Jakob writes often. He has found a job in the States as a photographer, he said in his most recent letter. Typically, he includes a photograph or two in his correspondence, most often of Victor,” reads one of the closing chapters of ‘We Were the Lucky Ones.’ The couple were not alone in the United States. After reconnecting with his family in Rio de Janeiro, Addy decided to settle down in Massachusetts, where Hunter’s mother Isabelle and her uncle Timothy were born to the musician and his wife Caroline.

Image Credit: Georgia Hunter

In Illinois, Jakob and Maryla settled in the village of Skokie, which is located in Cook County. Along with his wife, Jakob always remained together with a camera as he continued to work as a photographer in his new “home.” After Addy moved to Massachusetts with his family, Jakob was able to reunite with a family member. The couple kept in touch with Addy and his family frequently. The composer traveled often to Illinois to see his brother, who changed his name from Jakob to Jack after starting to share his life with American relatives and friends, just like how Addy Kurc became Eddy Courts.

After settling in Skokie, Jakob and Maryla had their second son, who was named Gary. Decades after they crossed the Atlantic to set up a new chapter of their lives, Hunter uncovered the accounts of Maryla from the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive to write her novel.

Read More: Did Mila and Felicia Remain Together in Real Life?