Halina Herman was born in Warsaw, Poland at the start of World War II. Her father was a doctor. Just after the Germans occupied Poland and her family was forced into a ghetto, her father was taken away and she never saw him again.
Her mother immediately left and the two began traveling around from place to place in order to stay safe. When she was three, she remembers hiding in an attic with her mother. Later her mother obtained false papers and got a job as a maid in Krakow. She found a Christian family to take care of her, but soon moved her to another family who took better care of her. While in hiding with these family, Halina was raised as a Catholic.
At the end of the war, she was reunited with her mother in Krakow, however, she continued going to Catholic church and attended school at the convent until she was 10. In 1949, her mother finally told her she was Jewish and they emigrated to Paris. Her mother remarried another survivor.