A poet of Warmia, a teacher and a Polish activist. She was born on 4 September 1894 in Brąswałd, as a daughter of August and Franciszka (born Kraska). Maria was educated in a German school but she also learnt Polish, taught by a priest Walenty Barczewski. Between 1921-23 Maria Zientara worked for ”Gazeta Olsztyńska”. At that time she became a member of the Union of Youth Societies in East Prussia. In 1926 she completed her education in State Teachers’ Seminar in Cracow. In 1929 she started her teaching career. Just before the war she taught in Chaberkowo, Wielki Buczek, Złotowo and Nowy Kramsk. Between 1931-33 Maria was in charge of the Department of Kindergarten and Religious Care of the Polish children from the Association of Polish Educational Societies in Berlin. In September 1939 she was arrested and sent to a concentration camp Ravensbrueck. After being released on 18 April 1940, she spent the rest of war in her home village of Brąswałd under the surveillance of Gestapo. After 1945 she worked in Olsztyn in the Education Department, she was also a member of Masurian Institute and the Polish Literary Association. After World War II she permanently resided in Olsztyn.

Maria Zientara-Malewska’s debut was a poem entitled ”Pory roku”, printed on 4 December 1920 in ”Gazeta Olsztyńska”. Her first book, a collection of sketches and reportages entitled ”Rośnie do słońca”, was published in 1954. Apart from poems she wrote articles, reportages and fairy - tales. Her works praise the beauty of Warmia region, folk customs and emphasize religiousness of Warmia. Her most famous collections of fairy – tales and legends are: ”Legendy dwóch rzek” and ”Baśnie znad Łyny”. Her folk inspired books are: ”O Warmio moja miła”, ”Śladami twardej drogi”, ”Wspomnienia nauczycielki spod znaku Rodła” and ”Wieś nad łąkami”. Her memories of the time spent away from Warmia during the interwar period are contained in: ”Płonące krzaki nad Obrą” and ”Złotowszczyzna”.

In 1947 Zientara married Otton Malewski. She received numerous state medals and decorations: the Golden Cross of Merit and the 30 Years Of Polish People’s Republic Medal, the Officer's Cross of Polonia Restituta, the Medal of the Builders of People's Poland and the Papal Medal ”Pro Ecclesia et Pontificae”. Maria Zientara-Malewska died on 2 October 1984 in Olsztyn. She left behind the literary output documenting and maintaining the culture and folklore of Warmia.