Doriane Kurz’s parents, Klara and Emil Meilech Kurz, settled in Vienna, where her father ran a thriving branch of the family's multinational optical frames business.
1933-39: Doriane was born in Vienna just two years before the Germans annexed Austria in March 1938. Her family fled to the Netherlands soon after the annexation. The Kurz family moved to the town of Maastricht where a branch of the Kurz Brothers' optical frames business was located. Doriane attended nursery school in Maastricht, but the family then moved to Amsterdam.
1940-45: In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Eventually, the German occupiers required Jews, including Doriane, to wear a yellow star of David. Doriane’s father Meilech was arrested and imprisoned in the Westerbork transit camp. From there he was deported to Auschwitz. In February 1944, Doriane, her mother, and her brother Freddie were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they were imprisoned for more than a year.
In April 1945, Doriane, Freddie and their mother Klara were among the approximately 8,000 Jewish inmates evacuated from Bergen-Belsen in freight cars. Eventually, their guards abandoned the train and they were subsequently freed by Soviet troops. Doriane, Freddie, and Klara returned to Amsterdam. But Doriane’s father Meilech did not. He did not survive. Klara died less than a year after they returned to the Netherlands. She was in ill health as a result of starvation and disease she experienced while in Nazi captivity. Doriane and Freddie sailed to the United States on the SS Gripsholm in 1946. Once in the United States, they went to live with an uncle.