Margit Meissner (born Margit Morawetz) is the daughter of Dr. Gottlieb Morawetz and his wife Lilly Tritsch. She was born on February 26, 1922 in Innsbruck, Austria to a very wealthy, secular family and had three older brothers, Paul, Felix and Bruno. Her father worked as a banker with Oesterreichishce Kreditanstalt, and her mother had been educated in England and France. Shortly after her birth her parents, while maintaining their Austrian citizenship, moved to Prague where her father taught on the law faculty of the Charles University in Prague in addition to working in finance. In 1932 her father passed away suddenly at the age of 52 from a blood clot in his leg. Her mother, only 39 years-old, was left to raise the four children. She moved from their spacious villa to an apartment. Over the next several years, Margit's two older brothers left home to pursue their educations and different business ventures overseas. Her third brother, Bruno, studied agriculture and prepared for the life of a gentleman farmer. After the Nazi takeover of Austria in March 1938, Margit's mother stopped her regular education and sent her to Paris to perfect her French and study dressmaking. Lilly Morawetz visited her there, and following the Munich Conference in autumn 1938 which handed over the Sudetenland to Germany, decided to emigrate as well. In January 1939 she returned Prague to sell their apartment and ship their belongings. She was still in Prague when Hitler's army occupied Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939. She and Bruno (who was managing a farm outside of Prague) decided to leave Czechoslovakia as soon as they could obtain exit visas from the Gestapo. On the last day when it was possible to enter without a visa, Bruno left for Britain where he found a job milking cows. After a while, he was able to immigrate to Canada on an agricultural visa. Lilly returned to France to join Margit. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Lilly and Margit were declared to be enemy aliens by virtue of their Austrian passports and had to report regularly to the police. In May 1940 Germany invaded France. Lilly, as a recently arrived Austrian citizen, was rounded up by the French sent to Gurs, a detention camp in southern France. Margit decided to flee Paris; she purchased a bicycle and began riding south and then boarded a train, eventually arriving in Salies, near the border between occupied and free France. Following France's capitulation, Lilly was released from Gurs and succeeded in reuniting with Margit. They then planned how to escape France. They hired a farmer to smuggle their bags across the demarcation and crossed over themselves unencumbered as if they were just going for a stroll. So as not to be identified as foreign nationals, they left all their identification papers behind. From there they made their way to Marseilles and began the long process to obtain exit and immigration visas. When their funds ran low, the American rescuer, Varian Fry came to their assistance and loaned them money. They eventually obtained transit visas to Spain and Portugal and a visa to the Belgian Congo on the grounds that Margit's father had owned shares in a Congolese mining firm. Though they hoped these visas would expedite their obtaining exit visas, French authorities would not grant them the exit visas before their transit visas were due to expire. Seeing no alternative, Margit and her mother illegally crossed the border only to be arrested on the other side by Spanish police. The two women spent several days in jail until friends in Barcelona obtained their release. After their release from jail, they made their way to Portugal. Since many other refugees had arrived without much clothing, Margit was able to support herself as a dress-maker. Her mother assisted her sewing buttons and hems. They also contacted Felix, Margit's older brother, who was living in the United States. He facilitated their immigration and they arrived in America in April 1941. After America's entry into World War II, Margit obtained a job with the OWI (Office War Information) translating radio broadcasts from Czech and Portuguese into English and editing publications in those languages for the Long Range Planning Division. After the war worked Margit worked for a while for the Military Government in Germany re-educating German Hitler Youth. In 1953 she married Frank Meissner, a Czech immigrant.