Hyman Abrams was born Chaim Zalman Abramczyk on December 10th, 1918, in Bendzin, Poland, the youngest of five surviving children born to Pinchas and Bronia. His siblings were Basia, Yitzhak, Malka and Lea. Hyman’s family were Chassidic Jews, but even as a young man, Chaim was more interested in the secular world than the religious one.
When the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Pinchas Abramczyk was worried that his 20-year old son might be drafted into the Polish army where he would be unable to keep kosher. But the rabbi in-formed Pinchas that the Jewish community would have much more to worry about than the in-ability to keep kosher.
Eventually he did escape while on a death march from Buchenwald through Bavaria. Shortly before the Allied troops seized Bavaria from the Nazis, Hyman, along with the two men on either side, stepped out of line at night and jumped into the marshy area along the route. Hyman contracted typhus and recovered in an American field hospital. He then journeyed to Bergen-Belsen where many survivors had gone searching for relatives. There he learned that his wife had perished as did his parents.
His brother and one sister, their spouses and sons also had perished. He did, however, find his first cousin, Frida Abramczyk, and invited her to come to Bavaria with him and his friend, Morris, together with a Hungarian survivor named Eva Vezer. Frida arrived a few months later.
By January 25th, 1946 Frida married his friend Morris and Hyman married Eva in a double ceremony. Hyman and Eva had a son in October of 1946. In July of 1949, Hyman’s uncle, Arthur Wiener, sponsored the family to come to the United States.
They settled in New York City where Hyman found work as a chocolate maker with Barton’s Chocolates. He eventually left that position to establish a retail butcher business. Their daughter, Bonnie, was born in 1956. In 2007, Bonnie became the Director of the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. Her mother Eva is a frequent speaker to school groups in the Rochester, NY area. (See also Eva Abrams)
biography written by: Bonnie Abrams