Helga Schneider was four years old in 1941 when she and her younger brother were abandoned by their mother, who walked out of their Berlin apartment during World War II. Their father was away fighting in the German Army. Helga was initially cared for by a loving grandmother, but then endured an unloving stepmother, boarding school, and the deprivations of postwar Germany. She ran away, made her own life, and married an Italian. Thirty years later, she met her mother again and learned that she had been a member of the Waffen SS who worked as a guard at Ravensbruck and Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps.
Helga Schneider has written two memoirs, including Let Me Go (2001) published in English translation in 2015.