Ebi, the daughter of Morris and Margit Gruenblatt, was born in Nyirmihalydi, Hungary. Her father was the manager of a large rural estate. The youngest of four children, Ebi had three brothers who adored her. Her family enjoyed a comfortable, affluent life, and Mr. Gruenblatt was widely known and well-respected.
The Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944. Before Ebi's seventeenth birthday, the Nazis arrested her family, along with other Jews in the area, and interned them in the local synagogue without food or water. After two weeks of deprivation and forced marches through the countryside, they reached the city of Nyiregyhaza, where they were herded into a closed-off ghetto. Lacking work and the means to earn a living, the Gruenblatts were in danger of starving to death. Christian friends helped by smuggling food into the ghetto. Ebi and her family reported for "resettlement" in mid-May. Shoved into cattle cars, travelling under conditions that barely sustained human life, they arrived in Auschwitz five days later.
In June, Ebi and her mother, passing as sisters, were sent to the Plaszow labor camp near Cracow. Filled with constant fear, Ebi and her mother were put to work moving heavy rocks from one location to another. They were being worked to death. In late September 1944, Ebi and her mother were brought back to Auschwitz. They were now sent to Augsburg, Germany, to work in the K.U.K.A. Ammunition Factory. Soon after, the area was heavily bombed by the Allies, and they were evacuated, first to Dachau, and then to a work camp near Muehldorf. Since she knew German, Ebi was given work as a registrar. When the Allies began bombing Muehldorf at the end of April 1945, Ebi and her mother, along with other inmates, were packed into cattle cars. The Germans planned to take them to the Alps and murder them. The tracks were almost completely destroyed and the train could not get far. Allied planes strafed the train while the prisoners took refuge under the boxcars. Ebi, her mother, and others escaped, but the Germans hunted them down and returned them to the train. Allied soldiers finally arrived on the scene and liberated them. Ebi celebrated her eighteenth birthday as a free human being.