Johanna Reiss (pronounced ) (born Johanna "Annie" de Leeuw, 4 April 1932 in Winterswijk, Gelderland) is a Dutch-born American writer and longtime resident of New York City. Her most recent work, A Hidden Life, was published by Melville House Publishing in January 2009. In her books, Reiss has presented her childhood experience as a Jewish girl in The Netherlands during the Holocaust.
Johanna Reiss was born, raised, and educated in Winterswijk, but she and her older sister survived the Holocaust hidden for almost three years in the rural village of Usselo in the attic of a farmer called Johan Oosterveld.After teaching elementary school for several years, she moved to the United States in the early 1950s, where she married Jim Reiss (1932-1969). Upon the urging of her husband, she wrote a young adult novel, The Upstairs Room, sharing her personal experience of the events of the Second World War. Published in 1972, this classic YA novel won Reiss several awards: it was a Newbery Honor Book, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book, and a Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Book. It also won the Jewish Book Council Juvenile Book Award and the Buxtehuder Bulle, the prestigious German children's book award. Elie Wiesel considers The Upstairs Room "as important in every respect as the one bequeathed to us by Anne Frank."
Her latest book, A Hidden Life, was published by Melville House Publishing in January 2009. It is a memoir written for adults, in which Reiss confronted the memories of childhood as well as the tragedy of her husband's suicide. Reiss has two children from her later deceased husband.