Rozalija, Nina's mother, was Latvian, but she had family connections with Polish nobility, and her parents were reasonably well-off. A twin with Paulina, she was one of five children, and she grew up in Inčukalns, a town to the east of Riga, not far from Sigulda. As a child she was very determined - a trait that became more emphasized as she grew up - and she met challenges and, later, tragedy with a stoicism, which often made her appear unemotional and detached.

She spoke at least six languages fluently. and, as well as looking after a husband and four children, she gave her time tirelessly to helping refugees, both during and after WWI.