Henryk in Camouflage

Writer: Jason Chertoff, MD Contact: jasonlchertoff@gmail.com; (917) 232-0297
Logline: Based on the true story of Henryk Siwiak, a Polish immigrant and dedicated family man described as ‘the last person killed and sole New York City murder victim of 9/11’, who, while determined to support his family, ventures to a new job on the night of the 9/11 attacks, and is randomly gunned down in an overlooked and still unsolved murder.
Synopsis: When most think of 9/11 they recall the New York City terrorist attacks and the countless innocent lives that were lost. Most neglect to consider the other tragedies that occurred in NYC that day, like the murder of Henryk Siwiak, the last person killed and the sole murder victim in New York City on 9/11.
HENRYK SIWIAK is a humble, simpleminded, hardworking, and dedicated family man. He is passionate about his work as a train safety inspector in Krakow, Poland, and prides himself on financially supporting his family. When financial cutbacks lead to his termination, he must quickly find other options to support his wife, EWA (completing a PhD), and two children, GABRIELLA (soon to attend college) and ADAM. Due to Poland’s dismal economy and after some emotionally charged deliberation with his family, Henryk decides he has no other choice but to venture to the United States, New York specifically, to find work to provide for his family.
It’s now a year later and Henryk finds himself alone with no friends or family in a tiny, cramped apartment in Brooklyn. He struggles to acclimate into society due to his meekness and rudimentary grasp of English language. One uneventful morning, which we are surprised to realize through passenger newspaper and magazine headlines, happens to be 9/11/01, Henryk takes his typical bus commute to his job in Lower Manhattan.
At his job, the devastating 9/11 attacks occur, with the aftermath being felt a mile away in the store where he’s working. With all lines of communication down, Henryk leaves Lower Manhattan in search of the nearest working phone to alert his family in Poland that he is okay. Despite being safe, Henryk finds himself without a job again since the store where he worked in Lower Manhattan must temporarily close due to the attacks. Eventually, after informing his family of his wellbeing, Henryk contacts a Polish employment agency about available jobs, and finds a job in Bedford-Stuyvesant starting that same night. On his one hour voyage to his new job Henryk gets lost, and after an altercation with a gang, gets tragically shot and dies.
Henryk was the last New Yorker to die on 9/11, and outside of the terrorist attacks, is the only recorded New York City homicide of that day. Eighteen years later, the case remains unsolved.

  • Jason Chertoff
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Immigrant Experience, Biopic, True Story
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Polish
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Indie Visions Film Festival

    April 30, 2019
    Best Feature Film Screenplay
  • Polish International Film Festival

    3rd Place Screenplay
Writer - Jason Chertoff