Yetta was born on August 12, 1895, in Russia. She was known by her Yiddish name Etel. Her parents were Benjamin Spiegel and Fannie “Feiga” Shechtman Spiegel (see Spiegel Family Outline). Records list Kiev as her birthplace. She most likely lived in the nearby shtetl Pavalitch since few Jews were allowed to reside in the city of Kiev at the time. In 1906, when Yetta was 11 years old, events in Russia resulted in pogroms throughout the area known as the Pale of Settlement. According to a family story, Cossacks attacked the shtetl. Yetta and her family fled for their lives.