Haendel was born in Chełm, small city in Eastern Poland. She took up violin at the age three, as a seven-year-old was admitted at the Warsaw Conservatory. Later she studied also with Carl Flesch and George Enescu in Paris. During World War II she played in factories and for British and American troops. Her career developed after the end of World War II. Her autobiography, Woman with Violin, was published in 1970. She was made a CBE in 1991.