Irene Levin Berman was born, raised and educated in Norway, after which she moved to the U.S. as a young bride. Her first recollection of life goes back to 1942, when as a child she had to escape to Sweden, a neutral country, with her immediate family. Germany had invaded Norway and the persecution of the 2000 Norwegian Jews was initiated. 771 persons were deported and sent to Auschwitz, including seven members of Irene's father’s family.
Irene's books are narratives of a journey back in time. The surfacing of long-forgotten memories forced her to examine the label of being a Holocaust survivor and the subsequent introspection. Irene's strong dual identity as a Norwegian and a Jew led her to explore a multitude of previously unopened doors. This is not a description of the Holocaust alone, but the memoirs of growing up Jewish in Norway during and after World War II. The richness of having both a Norwegian and Jewish culture ultimately provided her with a third identity—that of an American.
Irene has worked as a translator of Scandinavian languages in the U.S. for more than 25 years. She has combined her strong affinity for Norway and Norwegian culture with her American experiences, and has translated six of the well-known Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s plays to English in collaboration with an American author and actor. Their translation of Peer Gynt followed the Norwegian rhyme pattern for the first time and has also been published in book form. The translations have been utilized at several theaters nationally.
With the publication of the third book in her trilogy about Norway's history about Jews and the Holocaust, Irene is focusing her efforts on informing Americans about the details of Norway's important and tragic role in the Holocaust.