Ann Szedlecki was born Chana Frajlich to a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland. She was 14 years old when the Nazis invaded her homeland in 1939 in World War II. She and her older brother Shoel fled east to Soviet territory, intending to return for the rest of her family. Instead, her brother was imprisoned and she had to spend the next six-and-a-half years alone in the USSR, banished to the harsh conditions in northern Siberia under the Communist regime.
She survived largely by her own wits and determination. After the war, she returned to Łódź to find that every member of her family had perished. In 1950, she married Abraham Szedlecki, another survivor, with whom she had a daughter, and emigrated to Israel. Then, in 1953, they moved to Canada, settling in Toronto, where she worked in the garment industry before opening a successful women's clothing store of her own. She became a popular speaker for Toronto's Holocaust
Centre, often talking with students. Her memoir, Album of My Life (2009), was published posthumously.