Betty Schimmel, née Markowitz, was born in a small village in Czechoslovakia to Jewish parents and grew up in Budapest, Hungary. She and Richie Kovacs were childhood friends and sweethearts who planned to marry but were separated by World War II. In 1944, she was sent on a death march to the Mauthausen concentration camp but survived to be liberated in 1945. She worked as an interpreter for the American army in Germany. In 1946, she found Richie's name on a Red Cross list of the dead, though she did not really believe it. The following year, at age 17, Betty married Otto Schimmel, a fellow survivor, with whom she emigrated to the USA and had three children. In 1975, she returned to Budapest for the first time and ran into Richie. Apparently, he had been searching for her for years and had even gone to her home in New York City, but had been turned away by her husband. He was also married now and had three children. He proposed that they run away together, but Betty felt bound by her commitment to Otto and her children. Her memoir, To See You Again: A True Story of Love in a Time of War, was published in 1999.