Maria's parents lived in Szentes, a town in southeastern Hungary, located 30 miles from the city of Szeged. Her mother,Barbara, was born in the neighboring town of Hodmezovasarhely, but moved to Szentes when she married. Maria's father was a dentist.
1933-39: Maria was born in 1932. In 1937 her mother took in a young Austrian woman who lived with the family and helped Maria learn German.
1940-44: In March 1944 German troopsoccupied Hungary. Members of the Hungarian fascist party, Arrow Cross, confiscated Maria's grandparents' store. She and her parents, grandparents, uncle and aunt and their families were among thousands of Jews from towns around Szeged who were deported to a makeshift ghetto in Szeged's Rokus sports field and brickyards. The Nemeths were deported from Szeged to Austria, via the Strasshof concentration camp, to a labor camp in the small farming village of Goestling an der Ybbs.
Maria and her family were among 80 Jews in the camp who were machine-gunned to death by retreating SS soldiers just days before U.S. forces reached the area. Maria was 13.