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Hirszfeld, Ludwik (1884-1954) | Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Name: Hirszfeld, Ludwik (1884-1954)

Historical Note:

Ludwik Hirszfeld was born in Warsaw on August 5, 1884, and died in Wroclaw on March 7, 1954. Hirszfeld is considered one of the co-discoverers of the inheritance of ABO blood type. He was born to a Jewish family and later converted to Catholicism. He studied medicine in Germany.

After Poland regained independence, he returned to the country. He  lived in Poland until the German invasion. On February 20, 1941, Hirszfeld was forced to move into the Warsaw ghetto with his wife and daughter. There he organized anti-epidemic measures and vaccination campaigns against typhus and typhoid and taught secret medical courses. In 1943, he and his family fled the ghetto and were able to survive underground by using false names and continually changing their hiding places. His daughter died of tuberculosis in the same year.

When a part of Poland was liberated in 1944, Hirszfeld immediately collaborated in the establishment of the University of Lublin and became vice president of the university. In 1945, he became Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology in Wroclaw and dean of the medical faculty. The Institute, now affiliated with the Polish Academy of Sciences, was later named after him.

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