Yank Berry was born Gerald Barry Falovitch in 1948, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He grew up in Quebec with his mother and father and four siblings of which he was the eldest. The area of Quebec that Yank Berry and his family lived in was predominantly French Canadian and his family was the first Jewish family to move there. The community did not welcome the family and in fact they often became the target for hate crimes and anti-Semitism including vandalism and abuse by the neighborhood kids in which Yank Berry and his sibling were buried to their necks in sand until a neighborhood parent heard and came out to help. This specific abuse incident scarred Berry for the rest of his life and made him claustrophobic.