Ava Kadishson Schieber was born in a town near Belgrade. Her mother had converted to Judaism although her father had changed his name in order to receive a commission in the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War. Schieber grew up in Novi Sad and then the family moved to Belgrade in 1940 where they prospered until the Nazis invaded Belgrade in 1941. Schieber went into hiding with relatives of her sister's fiance, who was Serbian. She lived with them on an isolated farmland for four years, after which she was reunited with her mother. Her father and sister did not survive the war, but Schieber later moved with her mother to Israel. She has been living in Chicago for the past twenty years.