The youngest of three children, Masza was born to Jewish parents living 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Her father owned a shop where he sold cosmetics and non-prescription medicines. Masza was close friends with a group of Jewish teenagers who went to the same public school and who spent much of their free time and vacations together.
1933-39: Majlich, Sara, and the rest of Masza's group have always liked discussing politics as they strolled down the main street on a summer evening or congregated in the sweets shop. They used to speculate about the Polish propaganda that claimed German tanks were made of cardboard and that any war would be brief. Now, Germany has invaded Poland. Yesterday a plane flew very low over Kaluszyn and dropped a bomb on people standing in line outside a bakery.
1940-44: The Germans have occupied Kaluszyn and forbidden all the Jews from going out of their houses after curfew and from leaving the Jewish section of town. In any case, most people are afraid to go out, unless absolutely necessary, because no one can predict when the Nazis might round up a group of adults for deportation to forced-labor sites. Masza and her family mostly stay inside, so she doesn't get to see her good friends much any more.
In September 1942 Masza's parents and some 3,000 other Jews were deported from Kaluszyn to the Treblinka killing center. Masza was deported there in December.