Marie was born on August 22, 1932 in the Czech village of Lidice. When she was ten years old, German soldiers and units of the SS and Gestapo destroyed her village, acting on direct orders from Adolf Hitler. The destruction of the village was a reprisal for the assassination of the influential Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. The Gestapo suspected residents of Lidice of being involved in the assassination. The Germans then murdered all the men in the village, including Marie's father. Marie, her mother and grandfather were taken along with all the other women and children to a sports hall in the nearby city of Kladno. There the children were forcibly separated from their mothers. Marie was transported along with the 87 children from Lidice to a camp near Lódz. Her mother and grandmother were sent with the other women from the village to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.