Ludwik Hirszfeld: The Story of One Life

Front Cover
University of Rochester Press, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 456 pages
Ludwik Hirszfeld (1884-1954), one of the most prominent serologists of the twentieth century, discovered the inheritance and established the nomenclature of blood groups and opened the field of human population genetics. He also carried out groundbreaking research in the genetics of disease and immunology. Following World War II, he founded Poland's first Institute of Immunology in Wroclaw, which now bears his name. His autobiographical memoir, The Story of One Life, first published in Poland in 1946, immediately became a bestseller and has been reedited several times since. It is an outstanding account of a Holocaust survivor and a writer capable of depicting the uniqueness and the tragedy of countless individuals caught up in the nightmare of 1939-45. He recollects his time as a physician in the Serbian army in 1915 and his satisfaction as a scientist who helped rebuild Poland after the Treaty of Versailles; in so doing the contrast between the world before and the world after World War II could not be starker. Hirszfeld wrote this book while in hiding after he escaped from the Warsaw ghetto in 1943; he buried the manuscript and retrieved it only after the war. Drawing on interviews with Hirszfeld's former students and family, as well as unpublished documents, this translation is annotated and has an introduction written by two scholars with unique qualifications to understand both the immediate setting in which Hirszfeld lived his life, and the broader implications of his work to the history of medicine. Marta A. Balinska is a writer and an international consultant in public health. William H. Schneider is Professor of History at Indiana University.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Foreword to the original 1946 edition by Ludwik Hirszfeld
University Years
Assistantship in Heidelberg

35 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information