André's parents were Sephardic Jews of a Turkish and an Italian descent.
André Aciman was born on January 2, 1951, in Alexandria, Egypt. He is a son of Regine Aciman and Henri N. Aciman, who owned a knitting factory. André was raised in a French-speaking home, where family members also spoke Italian, Greek, Ladino and Arabic.
Initially, André's family lived in Egypt. After the Suez war in 1956, the family was exiled from the country amidst growing anti-Semitism. After his father purchased Italian citizenship for the family, Aciman moved with his mother and brother as refugees to Rome, while his father moved to Paris. In 1968, the Acimans settled down in New York City.