Harvey Kurtzman was born on October 3, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, United States. He was the son of David and Edith Kurtzman. His parents were Russian-Ukrainian Jewish, though his father converted to Christian Science. When Harvey was four his father refused to treat a bleeding ulcer and just prayed to be cured, as his church taught him. He died. Harvey's mother placed her children in an orphanage for three months until she found a job as a hatmaker. She remarried a brass engraver who was active in trade unions. His stepfather encouraged his artistic abilities. Harvey had a brother, Zachary, and a half-brother, Daniel.