Magda was an only child and was only a few weeks old when the family moved from Budapest to Szentendre. His father was born in Trencsén, in the uplands (now known as Slovakia), but studied in Budapest where he became a trade correspondent. Later he commuted from Szentendre to Budapest to work. Her mother came from a Catholic Croatian family and converted to Judaism before she got married.
She ran a kosher household, learned the brachot (blessings), and lit candles on Friday nights,” Magda wrote about her mother in her memoire. Little Magda started her studies at the Israelite Elementary School in Szentendre, and after finishing there, she continued her middle school studies at the Archiepiscopal Roman Catholic Girls’ School. She was a straight A student at both schools and went to high school in Budapest. Magda wanted to become a doctor, but could not because of anti-Jewish legislation, so instead she started working in Budapest. In June 1944 she, her parents, and her 85-year-old grandmotherwere deported from Szentendre. The last time Magda saw her family was when they were separated upon arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was placed with the group of women capable of work and was forced into slave labor. She was starving, freezing and working 12 hours a day at a factory. Her foot got wounded in the winter freeze and dirty machine oils got into the wound resulting in severe blood poisoning. Magda was taken to a larger hospital where she contracted pneumonia in the horrifying conditions. She was liberated from the hospital in May 1945.
Basically the Hungarian poets and poems brought me home: Petőfi, Arany, Vörösmarty. I could have gone abroad, to the west. I knew my parents were not alive,” she later wrote. After the war she finished education school and worked as a teacher of Geography and History until her retirement.