Anneliesse was born in 1937 in Leipzig, Germany. She was five when she and her parents went into hiding and eight at the end of the war. In Liepzig they hid, always together, in thirteen different homes.
The family left Leipzig in 1944 for Blundez, Austria. The townspeople were kind to them until they revealed their Jewish identity in 1946. Anneliesse’s father worked for the government until 1948 when some of the townspeople pressured officials to release him from his job. The family identified themselves as Jews, and friends asked them to convert but they refused since they were deeply religious. Anneliese was known as Annie Freihell in Blundez. She attended public school there.
Two of her uncles had immigrated to the US in 1938 and sponsored Anneliese’s family. They moved to New York City in 1950, but they were quarantined for a year due to Anneliese’s smallpox. Dr. Leopold got a job at the University of Cincinnati until his death of a heart attack in 1952. Mrs. Leopold supported her daughter as a nurse’s aide.
Anneliese graduated high school in 1947 and earned her B.S. in 1959. She and her husband, Matt, married in 1959.