Boris Pahor was born on August 26, 1913, into a Slovene minority community in Trieste, the main port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the capital of the Austrian Littoral region at the time (present-day Trieste, Italy). He is the son of Franc and Marija (Ambrozic) Pahor.
As a child, Pahor witnessed Fascist sponsored violence against the Slovenian minority in Italy. In 1922 Slovenians were forced to change their names an were forbidden to speak Slovenian in the streets. Their cultural facilities and other properties were burned.