Born in Austria to a wealthy Jewish family, Margit Meissner was raised in Prague, Czechoslovakia. When Hitler annexed Austria in l938 Margit, at age 16, was sent to Paris to be out of harm’s way. When France capitulated Margit fled Paris on a bicycle to avoid the German troops. Due to her father’s past investments in the Congo, she was granted a visa with which she obtained Spanish and Portuguese transit visas to escape France. Miraculously reunited with her mother who had come to France and then been interned, mother and daughter fled on foot across the French Spanish border only to be jailed by the Spaniards. Eventually Margit and her mother made it to the United States. She soon married a G.I and followed him to Army posts across the U.S. After the war she went with him to the Nuremberg war crimes trials where she was employed by the U.S. Army of occupation, re-educating Hitler youth.
When her husband entered the U.S. Foreign Service, Margit lived in France, Hungary and Egypt, before divorcing him and returning to the U.S.. After a stint as a story analyst in Hollywood, Margit became a business women, manufacturing children’s clothes in San Francisco. Eventually she became a dress design teacher and an elementary school teacher in Argentina. She worked for 20 years in the Montgomery County, Maryland school system, as program planner and advocate for educating handicapped children.
Upon her retirement in l992 Margit became a volunteer in anti-violence programs. She interrupted that activity when her children insisted she write an autobiography. After the book Margit’s Story, was launched, she became a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where she translates from Czech into English at the Archives and acts as a tour guide in the Permanent Exhibit.