Gershon (Herman) Svet was born January 1, 1893, in Shpole (Kiev province of the Russian Empire, now Ukraine). His father, Menachem Mendel Sveta, was the local cantor.
He studied at the "cheder" (religious elementary school). Later he graduated from high school in Zlatopol as an external student. In 1917 he joined the historical philology department at Kiev University, devoting himself primarily to the history of art. In 1920 he joined the Faculty of History and Philology of Odessa University. He married Yehudith Wahl, from Berlin.