Magda Quittner (nee Cleine) was born in Mandok, Hungary. Because her father was a United States citizen, she was also given U.S. citizenship.
After the Nazis occupied Hungary, Magda was deported with a group of 750 Jewish people to the Kisvarda Ghetto which was later liquidated. She was one of only twelve Mandok Jews to survive the Holocaust. After witnessing her family being deported, she was released from the ghetto because she had papers from the United States Consulate. She then lived in various places using a false passport that identified her as a gentile.
In January 1944, Magda was liberated by the Russian Army. After a failed attempt to emigrate to Palestine in 1946, she lived in a displaced persons camp in Germany for almost four years.