Lee Strasberg was born Israel Strassberg in Budzanów in Austrian Poland (part of Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine), to Jewish parents, Baruch Meyer Strassberg and his wife, Ida (born Chaia), née Diner, and was the youngest of three sons. His father emigrated to New York while his family remained in their home village with an uncle, a rabbinical teacher. His father, who worked as a presser in the garment industry, sent first for his eldest son and his daughter. Finally, enough money was saved to bring over his wife and his two remaining sons. In 1909, the family was reunited on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where they lived until the early '20s. Young Strasberg took refuge in voracious reading and the companionship of his older brother, Zalmon, whose death in the 1918 influenza epidemic was so traumatic for the young Strasberg that, despite being a straight-A student, he dropped out of high school.