Born in Holoby, Poland, Max Kuris married Zelda Leikach in 1939. He worked for the Soviets at the railroad station and later for the Germans. In 1942, when their child Masha was 13 weeks old, the family fled to the forests. After Masha became ill, Max convinced Zelda that the baby’s only chance to live was placement at a farmhouse with a note saying she was the child of an unwed Polish mother. Max and Zelda survived for 2-1/2 years in the forests. Learning that Masha’s parents lived, the Yarmolyuks, a Ukrainian couple raising Masha, offered them a chance to visit their dying child. Zelda kept Masha. The family then spent 4-1/2 years in displaced persons camp in Italy. To facilitate the emigration process, Max officially adopted the surname Leikach.