By late 1944, with the Allies advancing, Kitty and her mother were evacuated from Auschwitz. That winter, barefoot and in rags, she took part in an infamous death march across the mountains. ‘We were eating the snow. Then there was a miracle. In front of us were German refugees in their wooden carts. It took my group two seconds to weigh up the situation. We attacked them, took their food and I grabbed a bucket of lard. My mother was jubilant. We smeared ourselves with it and it saved a lot of us from exposure.’ At another point, she was herded into an air-tight truck on a train journey in which some 300 people died of suffocation. She was in the small Salzwedel concentration camp when liberated by the Americans on 14 April 1945.
As a military attaché and OSS operative Ortiz spent time with ., Free French and British units in the region, though he did not limit himself to simply observing their activities. He took part in combat operations against German forces on several occasions and in Tunisia was attached to both the . 1st Infantry Division and a French Foreign Legion unit during the brutal February 19–24 Battle of Kasserine Pass. By early March he had been given temporary command of a reconnaissance and sabotage team belonging to Britain’s Special Operations Executive (after which OSS had been modeled) and was operating in Tunisia.