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Ilse Koehn (1929–1991)

Author of Mischling, second degree

Includes the names: Koehn Ilse

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Ilse Koehn was born in Berlin, Germany. She studied graphic design and illustration as the Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste in her native city and later worked as a free-lance writer and illustrator for various magazines. She was first-prize winner in a national soap poster contest (the poster was then displayed throughout German) and designed exhibits for industrial fairs.

She came to the United States in 1958 and has worked as art director for both the J. Walter Thompson Co. and the Campbell-Downe Advertising Agency. Ms. Koehn has exhibited her paintings at the Lynn Kottler Galleries and in private collections. Since 1968 she has been a free-lance book illustrator and designer. She now lives in Connecticut with her art-director husband John Van Zwienen and stepdaughter Kyle. [from Mischling Second Degree (1977)]

Ilse was born in Berlin in 1929.   Her parents were Social Democrats and opponents of Hitler.  Because her paternal grandmother was Jewish, she and her father were in potential danger; he was saved by the need for his electrical skills.  Her parents divorced to protect her mother.    Ilse was evacuated along with her classmates to Czechoslovakia, but her father managed to return her to Berlin.  The family reunited after the war.  In 1958, Ilse moved to the United States where she married John Van Zweinen.  They worked as writers, illustrators, and graphic artists, but later divorced.   Ilse died May 8, 1991 of a heart attack.
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