Moselio Schaechter was born on April 6, 1928, in Milan, Italy. He is the only child of Victoria (Vicia) Wachsmann and Abraham Isaac Schaechter. His father went to Italy after the First World War and settled there, and brought his mother from Vienna to live in Italy. His parents came from a typical Polish Jewish background, both from shtetls (small towns) in the Southern part of Poland, in Galicia. Their families would now be called Orthodox, although in the shtetls there was no other choice. They lived in Milan until Moselio was eight, then they moved to Turin for three years. In 1938, Italy enacted the racial laws (the Manifesto of Race), overtly because Mussolini yielded to pressure from Hitler, these laws mandated, among other things, that all the Jews who had resided in Italy for less than 20 years had to leave. In 1939, they traveled to Genoa, intending to go to Australia, but problems with visas never let them do it. After three months in Genoa, they went back for a year to Milan and eventually left for Ecuador in September 1940, a few months after Italy entered the war. In 1950 Elio moved to the United States in order to get higher education. He stayed In the United States but visits Italy and Ecuador and considers them to be his homelands.