Harry Markowicz is the son of Max Markowicz (b. Lask, Poland) and Marja nee Horowicz Markowicz (b. Wladawa, Poland). He was born on August 9, 1937 in Berlin, Germany, where his parents emigrated to from Poland after World War I. Harry had two older siblings, Rosa (b. May 14, 1928) and Manfred (b. May 14, 1929). In 1938, a policeman, who was a friend of the Markowicz family, warned them of an imminent outbreak of violence against Jews throughout Germany. The family escaped to Antwerp, Belgium shortly before Kristallnacht. On May 10, 1940 Germany invaded Belgium. The Markowicz family then tried to cross the border, but since they were "stateless", they were denied entry into France. In 1941, the German authorities started ordering able-bodied Jewish men to work in factories or farms in Germany to replace the German workers serving in the army. Max ignored his summons and moved the family to Brussels. When the German authorities began relocating Jews to the East in 1942, the entire family went into hiding. Max and Marja lived in an apartment which, from the outside, appeared unoccupied. Max did not leave the apartment for two years for fear of being arrested and deported; Marja occasionally went out to visit her children who were hidden with several different families and in children's homes in Brussels and in the Ardennes. Harry was eventually taken in by the Vaderlindens, a Belgian family. He lived as part of their family until the liberation of Brussels in September, 1944. Although they were all hidden separately, the Markowiczes all survived the war; most of their extended family was killed.The Markowiczes resumed their life in Brussels until 1949 when Manfred immigrated to the United States and settled in Seattle; Rosa followed shortly after. Harry and his parents joined them in 1951.
Harry went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree in French literature from the University of Washington and a Master's Degree in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University. He pursued his doctoral studies at Georgetown University. Harry is now retired from teaching at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.