Rachel Rachlin, born in Denmark, married Israel Rachlin, from a Jewish family in Kibart (Kybartai), Lithuania, who graduated from the University of Leipzig in 1932. He managed the family business of horse exporters until the Soviet occupation in 1940. Two weeks before Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, during World War II, the couple and their three children were deported to Siberia as Baltic citizens "dangerous to the regime." Ironically, the forced move helped save their lives, as none of their relatives back in Lithuania survived the Holocaust. The Rachlins survived moving around to different villages in eastern Siberia and were finally freed in 1956 thanks to the efforts of Rachel's Danish family and the Danish government. Rachel and Israel's joint memoir, Sixteen Years in Siberia, was published in 1988.