Maria Iosifovna Zhuzha was born in a working-class family. When the famine began in Ukraine, the family moved to Balaklava. She entered a medical school in Sevastopol. And barely graduated from it – the war began. She began working as a scrub nurse at the Sevastopol Naval Hospital, which from December 1, 1941 became known as the Main Naval Hospital of the Black Sea Fleet and was located two kilometers from the front line.
There was a catastrophic shortage of medical personnel, doctors were falling off their feet from fatigue at operating tables, Maria Iosifovna repeatedly had to perform operations to amputate the limbs of the wounded, often without proper anesthesia, since anesthetics was in great short supply.
The unit in which Maria Iosifovna served was one of the last to leave Sevastopol on TASHKENT destroyer. The wounded on stretchers and museum valuables were loaded onto the ship. The destroyer was repeatedly bombed by enemy aircraft, those of the wounded who could move, helped the sailors, brought shells to the guns. During heavy shelling, people covered museum relics with themselves. Upon arrival in Novorossiysk, only half of the people on the destroyer were alive, many of them were contused, including Maria Iosifovna – she was severely contused with hearing loss and her leg was wounded with a shell fragment.
Order of the Patriotic War of the 2nd class, medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945."