In June 1943 Irene's family was rounded up and sent to the Westerbork Camp from Amsterdam. They were there almost a year, barely avoiding being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, but their luck eventually ran out and they were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they lived almost 12 months. It was here that Irene last saw her Amsterdam neighbor Anne Frank. In January 1945 they were liberated because of their fake Ecuadorian passports, exchanged for Germans being held by the Allies. Their freedom came at a great cost as Pappi died on the train leaving Bergen-Belsen and Irene was separated from her Mutti and Werner in Switzerland and sent on alone to a displaced persons camp in Algeria.