Harlan E. Hurwitz, 55, a retired certified public accountant and former resident of Bethesda, died of a heart ailment Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He had moved there in 1977 when he retired after 28 years with the J. K. Lasser Co., now the Touche Ross Co., here. He was managing partner of the Washington office when he retired.

Mr. Hurwitz was born in Worcester, Mass. He served in the Army in Europe in World War II and was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

After the war, Mr. Hurwitz, who had attended the City College of New York, earned a bachelor's degree from George Washington University, and attended the university's law school.

He was a member of the D.C. and American institutes of certified public accountants. He had been a director and a president of the Men's Club of Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, and was a charter member of Kroloff Lodge of B'nai B'rith in Bethesda.

He is survived by his wife, Miriam, and a son, Gary, both of Fort Lauderdale; another son, Elliot, of San Diego; two daughters, Jody Talbott of Manassas, and Susan Sperling of Columbia; a brother, Bernard, and a sister, Ann Elkins, both of Worcester; another sister, Sybil Findel of Warwick, R.I., and four grandchildren.