World War II began with Germany’s attack on Poland on September 1, 1939, after which point it became almost impossible for German Jews to emigrate. Jewish emigration stopped completely in October 1941. After that date, few Jews in German-occupied areas escaped with their lives.

Max, Maria, and Karin remained in Berlin for the rest of the war – Maria’s courage saved the family from deportation and certain death on numerous occasions. Miraculously, they all survived until May 7, 1945, when Germany finally surrendered and the war came to an end.