Mira Frenkel was born Mirka Menzer on 5 January 1938 in Bratislava, Slovakia to Eduard Menzer and Aurelia Zlata Lamm Menzer. Mira had one sister, Herta Menzer (later Iris Avni, b. 1928), and one brother, Yehuda Alfred Miron Menzer (b. 1927). Her father was a wealthy wine merchant in Bratislava. They were Orthodox and spoke German at home.
In March 1939 Slovakia aligned itself with Nazi Germany, under Jozef Tiso. The Menzer family sold its house in Bratislava and moved in with their maternal aunt, Luisa Lamm Schlesinger, in Nitra, 50 miles to the east. In April 1942 the Menzer family was supposed to be deported to Auschwitz, but at the last moment they were released before boarding the train. In 1943 Mira’s sister tried to flee Nitra for Hungary but she was caught and imprisoned. Mira and her parents were deported to the Nováky forced labor camp. After Herta was released from prison, she was also sent to Nováky. The family was released along with the other prisoners after the Slovak National Uprising in August 1944. Mira’s brother was a forced-laborer in Hungary and deported to Auschwitz in 1944.
The Menzer family stayed in Banska Bistrica and later tried to go into the Tatra Mountains. For a few weeks, they lived high up in the mountains, but then came down to the villages below at the urging of partisans. One day, some Germans entered the hut where the Menzer family was staying and saw Eduard wrapped in his Tallit reciting his morning prayers. The German soldiers tore the Tallit off him and threw it on the ground. Herta confronted one of the Germans and insisted that she and her sister were not Jewish. She told them they were escaping from the Soviets, and her father claimed he they were not his children. The Germans arrested Eduard, but let them go. Aurelia recovered her husband’s Teffilin and fled with her daughters to another village. Eduard was executed on 9 January 1945 in Kremnica.
Mira, Herta, and their mother were liberated by the Soviet Red Army in March 1945. Their brother was liberated from the Bunzlau subcamp of Gross-Rosen. The family reunited in Nitra and eventually immigrated to Palestine.