Danuta Czech was born to a Jewish family in Humnicki near Bzozów, present-day Poland. She graduated from gymnasium (high school) and the commercial lyceum in Tarnów, then studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow from 1946-1952, earning a master's degree in sociology. During World War II, she and her father Stefan Czech played an active role in the underground resistance movement. He was caught by the Germans in 1943 and deported to the Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dora-Mittelbau concentration camps. He survived the war, as did Danuta. She became a distinguished scholar of the Holocaust. In 1955, she took a position at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, rising to become deputy director before she retired. Her major life’s work was the massive book The Auschwitz Chronicle 1939-1945, published in installments from 1958 to 1963, and revised and expanded in 1989. It was published in the USA and Canada in 1999. She mentored numerous younger researchers who went on to make important contributions to research on Auschwitz.