Johanna Neumann was born into a family of merchants in Hamburg, Germany, on December 2, 1930. Her family tried several times to get visas to enter the United States, but because Johanna’s father was, officially, a Polish citizen, he was given a higher quota number than his wife and child. Therefore, they decided to stay in Germany as a family. In 1939, they escaped to Albania along with a few other Jewish-German families. They remained in Albania, fleeing from one town to another throughout the war until they were freed by the Allies in 1945. In 1945, Johanna and her family went to Italy where they lived in the Tricase Porto displaced persons camp. It was at this camp that Johanna first came into contact with survivors from various concentration camps. In June 1946, Johanna and her mother left Italy for the U.S. Her father went to Rome, where he waited until he received his U.S. visa. He joined his family in the U.S. in 1947.