Before the war, Anneliese had a comfortable childhood in a small town in Czechoslovakia. In 1940, Anneliese and her family were relocated to a Jewish ghetto. In 1941, the Gestapo took Anneliese’s parents. She never saw them again.
In 1942, the remaining Jews from her ghetto were deported in boxcars to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp. Five months after their arrival, several family members were exterminated. In 1944, her brother met the same fate.
When the Red Cross came to investigate Theresienstadt—a concentration camp/ghetto—in 1944, the Nazis used it for propaganda. Anneliese was among the children the officers gave new food and clothing for faux school photographs with a teacher. The officers forced them to pretend that they were receiving an education. In reality, the only education the children received was from the parents, teachers, artists, or musicians who were also incarcerated in the ghetto. Upon liberation on May 8, 1945, Anneliese was the only surviving member of her family.
Anneliese went on to marry another survivor. They had two daughters and immigrated to the United States in 1968.