Hermann Minkowski was born on June 22, 1864, in Alexotas, Russian Empire (now Kaunas, Lithuania) to the family of Lewin Boruch Minkowski, a businessman, and Rachel Taubmann. They both were of Jewish descent. He was his parents' third son. His oldest brother Max took over the family business, but he was also an art collector and the French consul in Königsberg. The second brother Oskar was a physician, best known for his work on diabetes, and the father of astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski. Apart from Max and Oskar, Minkowski also had an older sister, Fanny and a younger brother, Toby. Lewin and Rachel Minkowski were Germans although their son Hermann was born while they were living in Russia. When Hermann was eight years old the family returned to Germany and settled in Königsberg where Lewin Minkowski conducted his business.