Marie Wilhelmine Elise Baronesse von Grothuss was the daughter of royal court barrister Carl Baron von Grotthus and his wife Auguste, née Freymann. She was the youngest of 13 children.
On 10 April 1901, Marie von Grotthus married Baron Arthur von Kleist, a lawyer, in Riga. Her husband was initially an associate judge for the government in Riga and in 1905 became head of the administration of a district in Russia.
The couple had two daughters, Irmgard (1902-1979) and Gerda (1905-1980).
In 1917 the family fled the Russian Revolution, first to Kurland and in 1919 to Berlin, where they lived at Nettelbeck Strasse 9 in Schöneberg. Arthur von Kleist died in 1928.
Marie von Kleist moved into the Baltic home for the elderly in Lichterfelde, which was run by the Berlin delegation of the Baltic Red Cross in Danzig. In the late 1930s, 55 elderly people from the Baltic States lived here.
In 1944 the home’s premises sustained severe damage in a bomb attack. Marie von Kleist lost all her belongings and became disoriented and distraught. Steglitz public health department found her to be a “restless geriatric” and admitted her to Wittenau psychiatric clinic on 4 May 1944. Here, she was described as a “friendly, senile patient” who did not cause any trouble.
On 31 May 1944 she was “proposed for transfer” by Dr. Helene Silberschmidt, a doctor involved in selecting candidates for euthanasia.
On 14 June 1944 Marie von Kleist was transferred to Meseritz-Obrawalde, where she was murdered on 21 June 1944.