Mark Lurie was born in 1923 in Harbin, China. His mother Tsetsilia worked as a physician at a hospital of the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER), the railroad line constructed in the late 19th century by tsarist Russia and connecting by the shortest route, through Chinese territory, the eastern-Siberian town of Chita with Vladivostok. Mark's father Iosif was a businessman who in 1928 lost his business and fell ill. As a result, the mother of the family became the sole breadwinner. Mark grew up in a Russian cultural environment. In 1929 he was accepted by the Hindenburg private German school, but in 1933 all Jewish parents in Harbin withdrew their children from the German school. Mark was sent to an English-language school. "First I sang with other pupils 'Gott strafe England!,' then I sang 'God save the King,', Lurie recalled. Such a transformation in regard to languages and loyalties played a major role in Mark's life. He was fluent in both German and in English.
The Lurie family received Soviet citizenship in 1918. After the Soviets sold the CER to the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1935, many Soviet citizens residing in Manchuria asked to be repatriated to the Soviet Union. Despite his father's resistance, Mark at this time was a convinced Stalinist and demanded that his parents submit documents for this repatriation. As a result of this process the Luries eventually shared the fate of other Russian, both Jewish and non-Jewish, repatriates from Manchukuo to the USSR. Out of 70,000 former employees of the CER (including their families) and other repatriates, 53,000 were arrested in the Soviet Union in subsequent years, while 32,000 of them were executed.
The Luries moved to the USSR in 1936, settling in Khovrino, a suburb of Moscow. Mark was shocked by the Soviet poverty and squalor, so inconsistent with his image of the socialist state. He was accepted to attend Moscow's Anglo-American School N. 256 – a school for the children of Moscow's elite, where the teaching was conducted according to the Soviet school program but in English. However, the school was closed in 1938. In the same year, Mark's mother was arrested and she was exiled to the Far North. His father was spared because he was an invalid and had not been registered as a CER employee. Despite all this, Mark remained a staunch Communist, believing that his mother's arrest and exile were the result of a mistake.
When the Soviet-German war started in June 1941, like many other young boys and girls, Mark went to the enlistment office to volunteer for the Red Army. He naively thought that if he volunteered for combat and displayed courage, this would help demonstrate that his mother was innocent. However, as soon as the enlistment officials looked at his documents and learned that his mother had been arrested, they rejected Mark. This process was repeated several times in 1941. However, in October 1941 of that year, when the Germans were threatening Moscow, Mark was drafted despite the blot on his biography. (Lurie recalled that his family had a neighbor in Khovrino named Karpiuk, who began to compile a list of all Khovrino Jews. This collaborator did not want to leave the suburb but to meet greet the Germans "fully equipped" with his list with which he expected to win the favor of the Germans).
Mark Lurie spent the winter of 1941-1942 in various military training camps. After that he was sent to the North-Western Front as a communications specialist. There he was began serving in his specialty, but on one occasion, due to his fluency in German, he was summoned to headquarters staff to interrogate two captured German soldiers. After that he returned to his unit as a common private since the stigma of his mother's arrest still concerned the Soviet authorities. Finally, at the front in 1942, Lurie became disillusioned with the Soviet regime and its leader. He was wounded for the first time near Staraia Russa (in western Russia). After his release from military hospital he was sent to an officers' course (when he filled out the required forms, Mark concealed the fact that his mother had been arrested). Lurie recalls this course as a respite from combat. On the negative side, in the course he encountered a number of antisemites among his fellow students.
In 1943, Lieutenant Mark Lurie fought in Ukraine as the commander of a telephone platoon. He was wounded a second time and, in 1944, transferred to the 3rd Belorussian Front. There he served at the headquarters of the Front and this most likely helped him to survive. In October 1944, he was assigned to the reconnaissance department of the Front, and served as a translator for the interrogation of captured German soldiers. Around this time he was awarded the Order of Patriotic War, 2nd Class. He ended the war in Eastern Prussia. A few days before VE-Day Mark was wounded for the third time.
After the end of the war, Lurie was sent to the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow to study Chinese. Not wanting to be a military translator, he informed the superiors of the institute that his mother had been sent to the Gulag. As a result, Lurie was dismissed from Institute of Foreign Languages and studied instead at the Moscow Automobile and Road Institute. His time there coincided with the peak of the Stalin's anti-Jewish campaign. However, Mark's ability helped him survive this campaign unscathed. He became a car engineer, and, after the takeover of China by the Communists in 1949, his knowledge of Chinese helped him greatly.
In 1979, Mark Lurie left the USSR. He noted: "I was fed up with everything in my 'native Soviet country.' I was tired of the lies and hypocrisy, I was tired of the Communists. I was tired of the fact that in every place every single clerk first looked at my 'fifth item' [ethnic identity listed in official Soviet documents] and then at everything else." After living for three years in the USA, Lurie decided that a Jew should live in Israel so he left New York City for the Jewish state.
 From the interview taken in 2009, see https://iremember.ru/memoirs/svyazisti/lure-mark-iosifovich/