The fourth of eight children, Herschel was born to Jewish parents in south central Poland. His father was a machinist and locksmith. Herschel belonged to the Zionist youth organization, Ha Shomer ha-Tsa'ir, and played soccer for the Jewish team. When he was 14 years old, he left school to become apprenticed to his stepsister's father who was a tailor.
1933-39: Herschel was working as a tailor in Miechow when, on September 1, 1939, the German army invaded Poland. His parents decided that he and his brother, Pinchas, should flee to the Soviet-occupied part of Poland. The brothers were on foot and no match for a motorized German division that overtook them about 150 miles east of Miechow. They had no choice but to return home.
1940-44: In early 1941 the Germans herded Miechow's Jewish families into a few blocks around the synagogue that they closed off with barbed wire. As a tailor, Herschel was considered a skilled worker by the Germans. He felt luckier than his friends who were put to work doing road repairs and were constantly at risk of being beaten or shot. In July 1942 everyone in the ghetto was rounded up and marched to the train station where they were loaded into box cars. Herschel was one of about 25 skilled workers left behind.
Herschel was later imprisoned at Miechow and killed sometime in early 1943.