Edward Herman was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1931 into an affluent Jewish family and has one sister. When he was only one, his family moved to Katowice. When he ended the first grade, his family moved back to Warsaw. The family moved in with his grandfather and his father soon left to join the Soviet army.
After the Germans occupied Warsaw, his father returned in hopes to bring the rest of his family to the Soviet-controlled area of Poland, but his mother refused to leave. His father returned to the Soviet army.
For the next few years, Edward, his mother and sister were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. Often, his mother would leave the ghetto walls, passing as a Christian, in order to bring back food. When the Germans began liquidating the ghetto, he hid in the attic of the home of a Christian family. His mother was able to get papers for him to cross over to Budapest, Hungary. He left with three other Jewish men.
When they reached Budapest, he was to be cared for by one of the men, but was abandoned. Edward lived on the streets until an orphanage was formed. He lived there until his mother, sister and aunt arrived and he moved in with his aunt. In the end of 1944, he was liberated. He did not reunite with his father for ten years.
Eventually he emigrated to Canada where he attended school and received his doctorate.