Miriam was one of ten children born to a poor, religious Jewish family in Terava, Czechoslovakia. When Hungary took over the area in 1939, almost half the town's Jewish population was deported and sent to labor camps. Later, Miriam and her mother were forced into a ghetto. They were deported to the Auschwitz camp in 1944. After about three months, they were sent to the Stutthof camp. Toward the end of the war, Miriam and her mother were forced on a death march. They and others on the death march were abandoned in a barn until liberation by Soviet forces. Miriam's mother died in the barn. After the war, Miriam met and married her husband in a displaced persons camp. The two moved first to Israel and later to the United States.
One night, uh, one night, you know, there was a girl in our barrack in, on top--I was always on the lower--all the way on the top of the bed, bed, there was a girl and she must have had epilepsy, you know, and, uh, middle of the night she got probably a seizure. That's what we come to, and she, uh, threw herself down to the floor and it got such a panic inside that we thought then they came in to kill us. And scream and the dark, there was yelling and screaming and then, uh, the Gestapo came in and put on the lights and, uh, start shooting on everybody. And he made us, you know, a hundred times, made us jump, punish us. You say, "One, one for all and all for one," you know. They made us, uh, jump out the window, jump in the window, jump out the window, jump in the window. Uh, I said to my mother, I said, uh, "I can't go on like this." I said, "I am going to kill myself. I'm going to do it. Touch the wires and I'm gonna kill myself because I can't go on, can't take it." And my mother said to me, she said, uh, "Let's wait." You see, she believes, she believes that, that we gonna be saved, we gonna survive. She believed we gonna survive. So, uh, it was the most horrible night you ever can imagine in your life. So then, uh, the next day I tried to kill myself. I went to the wires, you know, next to the wires, close by, and this, uh, Gestapo, this SS came and saw me and grabbed me and, uh, and gave me, uh, 25, you know, over mein [my], uh, I had to lay down in a chair and he gave me 25 with that, uh, rubber thing.