Edward Haven (born Edward Karol Rechtszafen) is the son of Ludwik Rechtszafen (later Louis Haven, 1901-ca 1956) and Bronislawa Rechtszafen (née Bart). He was born on October 28, 1933 in Warsaw, Poland where his father owned a leather factory and numerous real estate properties. They lived in an apartment located in a building belonging to Edward's paternal grandparents, Ignacy Maksimilian Rechtszafen and Chana Rygier Rechtszafen. In addition the family owned a house in Konstancin (Konstancin-Jeziorna) near Warsaw.
In September 1939 Edward's father was mobilized into the Polish Army as an officer and subsequently fled Poland via Romania, Iraq and Egypt to the United States. Edward, his mother, his paternal grandparents and his paternal aunt with her husband and daughter tried to flee to the east, but were forced to return to Warsaw. Their house was destroyed in bombing of the city, and the family moved to Konstancin. In fall 1940 they were forced into the Warsaw ghetto. Edward's grandparents subsequently perished in the ghetto. After one year his mother arranged for false papers for herself and her 8 years old son Edward. Bronislawa became Anna Luniewska and Edward became Edward Luniewski. They found a hiding place with Edward's former nanny in the Okęcie area of Warsaw.
In an effort to save her son, Bronislawa unsuccessfully tried to reverse Edward's circumcision. In the summer of 1941, in an attempt to secure an American visa, she brought him with her to Berlin where they experienced an air raid. After their return to Warsaw, Bronislawa took security measures not to endanger her small son during necessary trips into the city. She always walked on the opposite side of the street from Edward, who was accompanied by his former nanny or another adult protector. During one of these walks Bronislawa was caught by the Gestapo, and Edward never saw her again. He stayed with his former nanny until the outbreak of the Warsaw uprising on August 1, 1944. Edward was separated from her and found himself alone, fighting alongside the AK Home Army scouts in Warsaw. After the Germans suppressed the uprising in September 1944, most of the population was deported out of Warsaw. Edward and a new friend found themselves in Pruszków, where they made acquaintance with two Polish women, who claimed to be their respective mothers. This ploy enabled them to leave the transit camp in Pruszków and travel to Krakow. A priest in the Bieżanów neighborhood of Krakow found a family willing to take Edward in.
The Machaczek family lived in Bieżanów where they owned a bakery and Edward became a stepbrother to Jaska and Jozek. Edek, as he was known in Polish, attended the local school. Immediately after the liberation of Poland, his father Ludwik, who had changed his name to Louis Rex Haven, initiated an intensive search for his son, and in the spring of 1946 representative of the Polish Red Cross located Edward in Bieżanów. In the fall of 1946 Edward traveled to the United States via Stockholm and was finally reunited with his father.