Cary, the daughter of Diana (Rosenzweig) and Willi Krell, was born in Vienna, Austria. Her father was the managing director of a knitting factory. Cary's parents were born in an area of Poland that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In April 1938, after Germany annexed Austria, Cary's father moved his family back to Poland, where he had been offered a job as a bookkeeper in the town of Boryslaw.
The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 1939 called for the eventual division of Poland along the San and Bug Rivers. Cary and the rest of the Jews living in Boryslaw were, at first, spared the full force of German anti-Jewish measures that began with the German invasion of Poland, because their town lay within the Soviet administered area.
The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, when Cary was five and a half years old. Right behind the invading German forces were the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile murder squads. At first, many Jews in the Boryslaw area were needed as a labor force to secure the raw materials Germany so desperately needed. Nevertheless, the Jews were eliminated in stages through various massacres and deportations to death camps. Cary's father worked in the Jewish administration in Boryslaw. He and his family were deported with the last Jews of the town in the summer of 1944. They were transported to the Plaszow concentration camp.
On October 15, 1944, Cary and her parents were shipped to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. There, her mother was taken away and sent to Auschwitz where she was immediately murdered. Mr. Krell smuggled Cary into the men's barracks dressed as a boy. She stood at roll-call every morning with her father even when they were sent later to Auschwitz. One day, a boy noticed Cary's odd way of going to the bathroom and revealed her secret. She was separated from her father and sent to a women's barracks. They had stopped the gassings in Auschwitz at this point, but it was dead winter. There was little food, and horrendous sanitary conditions spread disease everywhere. Mr. Krell joined every work detail he could in order to pass by Cary's barracks and get a glimpse of her. Cary, weakened by hunger, died of typhus on January 6, 1945, a few weeks before her ninth birthday and liberation.