Annelex Hofstra Layson was born to a family of Dutch origins in Surabaya, Java, in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). Her comfortable childhood was ripped apart in 1942 when the Japanese invaded the country during World War II. Her father, a pilot for the Royal Dutch Navy, was away at the war, but Annelex and the rest of her family were rounded up and interned for three and-a-half years in Japanese prison camps. Annelex survived the ordeal to be liberated at the end of the war. Just days after she was reunited with her father, however, he was killed in an explosion. Civil war broke out in Indonesia, forcing the family to flee to The Netherlands. Annelex emigrated to the USA with her mother Hilda and brother Jack. She met and married Henry Kramer, Jr., with whom she had two children, and lived in Reston, Virginia. As her children grew up, she went back to school and received a degree in nursing. In 2008, Annelex published a memoir called Lost Childhood: My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II.