Tchiya was the eldest of two daughters born to a Jewish family in the town of Horochow, 50 miles northeast of Lvov. Her father was a philosophy professor who taught at the university in Lvov, and both of her parents were civic leaders in Horochow.
1933-39: In September 1939 Germany invaded western Poland, and three weeks later the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland [as a result of the German-Soviet Pact], where Horochow was located. Hordes of refugees fleeing the Germans streamed through the town. Soviet rule did not change the Perlmutters' daily lives much. They remained in their home and Tchiya's father continued to teach in Lvov.
1940-42: In 1941 Germany invaded Soviet territory and set up a ghetto in Horochow. In 1942, with rumors that the ghetto was about to be destroyed, Tchiya's mother arranged a hiding place for Tchiya with a Polish family near Horochow. The escape plan called for Tchiya to report as usual to her work detail outside the ghetto. Someone was to meet her at the end of the day and lead her to the hiding place. The day Tchiya left she said goodbye to her mother and her sister, Shulamit. They all promised to find one another after the war.
After the war, Tchiya's sister found out that Tchiya had been betrayed to the Germans. Tchiya had been paraded naked through the town, tortured and killed.