Edith (Motzkus) Baumhardt was born in the Ruhr Valley of Germany in 1924 and came of age in Hitler's Germany while living in Cologne. Her father was a police officer and an administrator. Edith was forced to join the Hitler Youth, and survived the Allied bombing of Cologne. At the end of the war the family fled to the Allied lines. She immigrated to the United State in 1958, settling in Rochester, where she spent the rest of her life. She married Walter Baumhardt in 1967 and instantly became the step-mother of five young children. She held many positions, including translating and teaching German, but also French, Polish and English.