Etia Shvartzbroit was born in Mohyliv-Podilskyy in 1928. Her grandfather was a rabbi, and her father had a textile workshop, where her mother worked as a pattern-maker. The workshop was closed in the 1920s, after which her father worked as a government purveyor of eggs until his death in 1940. Etia went to a Yiddish school for four years. In 1942, she was imprisoned together with her family in the Pechera concentration camp, where the rest of her family died. She escaped, eventually making it back to Mohyliv-Podilskyy. After the war, she settled in Lutsk.