Ernst Fuchs was born on 13 February in Vienna. His father, Maximilian Fuchs, son of an orthodox Jewish family, had turned down a career as a Rabbi, leaving his theological studies uncompleted. He married Leopoldine, a Christian. When the Nazis occupied Austria in March 1938, Maximilian Fuchs emigrated to Shanghai. Ernst remains in Vienna together with his mother. Nazi legislation makes it illegal for Leopoldine to raise her son. Ernst is deported to a transit camp for children of mixed racial origin. Thereupon Leopoldine Fuchs agrees to a formal divorce from her husband, thus saving her son from the extermination camp.