A is for Anne and Irene in World War 2

02 Apr

April is the A to Z Blog Challenge – 26 posts in one month. My theme this year is Historical Treasure.

You know Anne. Now meet Irene.


Image Copyright AP

Irene 6 years old headshot

Image Copyright Three Kings Publishing

In 1929 two girls who later wrote about World War 2 were born in Germany, they were Anne Frank and Irene Kucholick. Anne’s dream was to become a famous writer. Irene’s dream was to become a nurse. Both their dreams were achieved in unexpected ways. Both of their lives were changed in profound ways by the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in their native homeland. Both were oppressed because they were not pure Aryans: Anne was Jewish and Irene was half Polish.

Anne is world famous. Irene is virtually unknown. However they both wrote about a time in history that should not be forgotten or brushed under the rug. People tend to forget that Anne was a German Jew. People tend to forget that the first people Hitler oppressed were his own.

Anne’s family fled Germany and still ended up living under Nazi rule in The Netherlands, where she began her writing career in earnest at the age of 13 while in hiding. Irene’s family stayed in what became East Germany, where she began her nurse training at the age of 14.

anne frank quote about writingThough Anne did not live to see it, she is one of the most famous writers of WW2 and one of the most famous holocaust victims. Anne died in 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp just weeks before the camp was liberated. In her diaries she said, “I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” 

Irene’s sorrows lived on, haunting her years later. She suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) until she began writing about her life and experiences, exorcising the grip of the past from her present. On Saturday, June 20th 1942, Anne said, “I feel like writing, and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.”

Irene had the same need.

Before the Iron Curtain: My World War 2 Childhood

Before the Iron Curtain: My World War 2 Childhood Memoirs by Irene Kucholick

Anne and Irene’s books are historical treasure troves. Where Anne’s writings end on August 1, 1944, Irene’s writing goes on describing daily life and survival through end of the war, through her 3 years hiding from Soviets as a boy, through her young adult nursing career on the dark side of the Iron Curtain, and through the actions leading to her spy accusations that sent her fleeing across the border from East to West Berlin in 1953.

Irene lives to this day.

Read her story.

Send your questions in the comments.

Living history of those times is getting harder to find.

Follow along this month as we dive into this treasure trove with excerpts and commentary from A to Z.

(Coming Soon…B is for Bolsheviks)


Kristin King is one of Irene Kucholick’s biggest fans and  the unexpected publisher of her memoirs. Kristin is currently working on a recording of Irene’s story for audiobook release. She hopes to visit Irene and hold a book signing in Maryland Thanksgiving 2017.




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7 responses to “A is for Anne and Irene in World War 2

  1. jazzfeathers

    April 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I’ve never read Irene’s sotry, but I did read Anne’s diary as a kid. I still rememebr so much of it. I was just a little older than Anne when I read her diary. It was scaring thinking what she was going through at my age.

    Thanks so much fo rsharing.

    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

  2. randommusings29

    April 3, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’d never heard of Irene, thank you for bringing her to my attention, I will look out for her book

  3. Diane Coto

    April 3, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Hi – Thank you for bringing Irene Kucholick to my attention. I’m always looking for this type of read. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  4. kristinkingauthor

    April 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and giving your encouragement. I do think I’ll enjoy A to Z this year since I have most the letters planned already, and it’s a memoir I hear more and more people relating to.

  5. A Joyful Chaos

    April 2, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    The Diary of Anne Frank has long had a spot on our family bookshelf. I had never heard of Irene, and will have to see if I can pick up her book.

  6. Scarlett Braden

    April 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Fascinating story! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a blast with the A to Z!
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

  7. Martha Reynolds

    April 2, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Kristin, what a great theme! Looking forward to these posts.


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