Hirsch was able to flee to Paris from Frankfurt, Germany in 1938, on a train transporting children away called the Kindertransport. That was the last time he saw his mother. He had two younger siblings but they were too young to go with him. Later that day his father was arrested and taken to Buchenwald concentration camp and then to Auschwitz, where he was killed in 1942. In 1943, his mother and siblings were killed at Auschwitz.