Alexander Lernet-Holenia was born on October 21, 1897, in Vienna, Austria. He was the son of Alexander Lernet and Sidonia (Holenia) Lernet. Growing up, Lernet-Holenia was all too aware of the political turmoil in Austria. Many of his closest family members were involved in the military on some level, including his father who was a lieutenant commander in the Austrian navy. When he was still a young child, Lemett-Holenia’s father left him and his mother. It was after being abandoned that the young boy added his mother’s maiden name, Holenia, to his surname.