Reuben Hofmekler was born in Lithuania on 6 December 1905, the son of well-known cellist. He grew up in Vilna, and the family fled to Kovno in 1920. He moved to the USA in 1938, where he was known as Robert Hofmekler (or Hoffy) and served with the US Army in Europe. Most of his family perished in the Holocaust, but his violinist brother Michael also survived. After the war, Robert taught cello in McLean, Virginia, played chamber music and organised the cellos in the DC Youth Orchestra. He died in McLean, Virginia, in 1994, aged nearly ninety.