Edgar Strauss was born on June 11, 1909 in Ludwigshafen, Germany, to a Conservative Jewish family. He was unable to complete law studies because of antisemitic laws and was dismissed from the Civil Service due to the Weiderherstellung des Berufbeamtentums (Nazi reorganization of the Civil Service to eliminate Jews). In November 1938, Edgar experienced Kristallnacht and was interned at Dachau concentration camp. After his release one month later, he went to Luxembourg but returned for fear of reprisals against his father. Edgar obtained a passport and visa and on August 15, 1939 he left for the United Kingdom where he worked in a machine shop. His father was deported to Gurs; he survived the war in that camp because he was in the hospital when deportations to Auschwitz took place. In June 1940, after Dunkirk, Edgar was interned by the British as an enemy alien. He was sent to the Isle of Man and from there to Trois Rivières, Québec; New Brunswick; and Ile -Aux- Noix, Québec, respectively. In 1942, the Canadian government began to release internees to work. Edgar settled in Montreal.