Robert Walter Hertz was born at Saint Cloud near Paris on 22ndJune 1881, into a relatively well-offJewish family, the fourth of five children born to Adolphe Hertz, merchant, and Josephine Strahlheim. His father was then forty years old and came from a German-Jewish family who in former times had been bankers to a local prince somewhere in Germany. He came to France as a young man and obtained naturalization in 1880 but died in a climbing accident in the Alps in 1899, while Hertz was still a teenager. At the time of Robert's birth, his mother was 25 years old. She came from a British or American family and survived Robert, dying in 1927. Robert had three elder sisters, Fanny, Cecile and Dora, and a younger brother Jacques, who between them provided him with a number of nephews and nieces. He himself had only one child, Antoine, born in Paris on 6/1/1909. 1

Hertz attended the Lycee Janson de Sailly between 1889 and entering Henri IV in 1898 to prepare for the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS). At both schools, he showed himself to be a precocious student, and he left Henri IV second in his year. 2 A year of military service intervened between his acceptance for the ENS in 1900 and his matriculation in 1901, a period he regarded as time wasted.3 He graduated from the ENS on 29th August 1904 with first place in the agregation de philosophie, which was normally intended as a qualification to teach in secondary education.4