Barbara was born in the province of Arad in northern Transylvania, Romania. She went to school until the Hungarian army occupied the area in 1940 and she was no longer allowed to attend. After the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, discrimination against Jews intensified. Barbara and her family were forced into the Oradea ghetto. She worked in the ghetto hospital until she was deported to the Auschwitz camp. At Auschwitz, she worked in the kitchens to receive extra food. She was deported to another camp, and later forced on a death march. Toward the war's end, the Red Cross rescued Barbara. She returned to Arad after World War II and worked as a biochemist.
When, uh, they opened the doors, we look out and we saw nurses with white dresses and caps with red cross on their front head, and, on the caps. And, uh, when they arrived to our wagon they were two or three civilian, two or three nurses, and, uh, Wehrmacht [German armed forces] people, maybe one Wehrmacht person. And a man said to us, "You are free now, and you gonna stay overnight here." Yeah, they say we are in, at the border with Denmark, at Padborg, that was a town or city. We were not in the city, we, they take us to a farm during the night, over the night. They said, "You are now in...at the border of Denmark and, uh, and, uh, Germany, and tomorrow you will go to Sweden. You stay here overnight and you are now free people." Everybody start to cry, to scream, "Where is my mother? Where is my sister? Where is my father?" We were in terrible shock, we didn't know what to, what to, what to think. Then came the Red Cross cars, every wagon, and they put us in the, those wagons, take us to the, to a very close farm. And so full with lice they didn't, uh, disinfect us. They put us to a table and they give us to eat, uh, oatmeal with a little milk, not too much milk. And naturally, we eat like wolves, we very hungry. And they say that they don't give us too much food because they don't want after that big starving to eat too much, because will not be good for us.