The Life Story of Chaim Hirszman: Remembrance of the Holocaust and Reflections on Postwar Polish-Jewish Relations
Chaim Hirszman was one of only two escapees from the Bełżec extermination camp who survived the war. In July 1943 when Bełżec was liquidated he escaped from the transport to Sobibór and went into hiding near Lublin. In March 1944, barred as a Jew from enlisting in the Polish government-in-exile’s partisan group, the Armia Krajowa, he was welcomed into the Communist partisan movement, Armia Ludowa, despite its antisemitic tendencies. After the war he was one of the few Jews employed by the Communist Security Bureau, UB. The anticommunists and the Security Bureau hated one another and carried out liquidations of enemy individuals. Hirszman was a comparatively minor, non-assertive employee during the eight months he worked there. On March 1, 1946 Hirszman officially ceased working for the Security Bureau. Nineteen days later he was murdered in his apartment. Following a rather lackadaisical investigation the murderer, Jerzy Fryze, was apprehended two months later. He was a member of a small Youth anticommunist group, who claimed that the object was to steal Hirszman’s arms and that he was shot when reaching for his revolver. Almost certainly Hirszman did not possess arms! The murderer was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment but ten years later appealed and the sentence was overturned and he was freed.