Samuel Goldwyn was born as Szmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw. Poland, on August 17, 1879. His father’s name was Aaron Dawid Gelbfisz and his mother was Hanna Reban (née Jarecka). They followed Hasidic Judaism, a branch of Orthodox Judaism. Szmuel’s father died when he was barely 16 years old.
Szmuel then left Warsaw and reached Birmingham. There he changed his name to Samuel Goldfish and stayed with his relatives for few years.
He next decided to go to the United States. However, he feared that he would be denied entry. As Canada was more open to the emigrants, he decided to go there first. Accordingly, he reached Nova Scotia in 1898; but the United States was his real target.