Jenő Varga was the youngest of eight children born to Szamuel Weisz and Julia Singer. He was born on 6 November 1879 in Nagytétény, a village situated at the Danube some 20 kilometres to the south of Budapest. His mother – a tuberculosis patient – died in 1884. At the age of 13 Jenő Weisz left school for his father’s timber trade. He had other different jobs before finding employ as an assistant bookkeeper at a large estate in Somogy komitat (county). In 1899 he would return to Budapest. With the financial backing of his elder brother Emil, he took evening classes as an ‘external student’ at a Protestant gymnasium. Together with his brother Emil, he broke with his father’s religion of Judaism in 1903. Both had their family name changed to Varga. After having obtained his gymnasium diploma with the highest marks, Varga entered university in 1904.