Magda was born in 1901, the daughter of Oskar Ritschel and Auguste Behrend. The couple were married later that year and divorced in 1904. Some sources suggest that they married before Magda's birth, but there is no evidence to support that fact. When Magda was five, her mother sent her to Cologne to stay with Ritschel, who later took her to Brussels, Belgium, where she was enrolled at the Ursuline Convent in Vilvoorde.
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