In Memoriam Max Drimmer

Max Drimmer passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 14, 2012.  He was a survivor, a long time congregant, and a past president of B’nai Emunah, who lived and served with strength, resilience and faith.

Past President Max Drimmer.  Portrait by Gabriele Lange 2010

Past President Max Drimmer. Portrait by Gabriele Lange 2010

Max’s parents immigrated from Poland to Germany in the early 1900s.  He was born in Magdeburg, Germany.  When he was two, his parents settled in Berlin, and he was raised there as an orthodox Jew.  In April 1933, he became a Bar Mitzvah on the day of the first official boycott of the Jewish People.  On that day he knew he had to leave the country; he began an apprenticeship as a kosher baker so that he would have a profession when he left the country.

Life for Jewish people in Germany became harder and harder.  Max’s father went to Poland.  His sister went illegally to Belgium in the middle of 1938 and survived the war in a French camp.  On November 9, 1938, the Crystal Nacht, the family lost their business and living quarters.  Three weeks later Max tried to cross illegally into Holland but was caught and spent four weeks in jail before being sent back to Berlin.  Hitler marched into Poland on September 1, 1939, and all Polish men were arrested, wherever they were.  Max was put into Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, for three years and then was transported in the famous boxcars to Auschwitz.  He was there for two years when, with the help of a Polish civilian co-worker, he escaped on September 2, 1944 with his friend Herman Shine.  They miraculously survived in hiding until the Russian army liberated them at the end of January 1945.  When he returned to Berlin, he discovered that his parents had not survived.  Max married in February 1946.

Max finally came to the United States in March 1947, settling in San Francisco.  His sons Jack and Jeff were born in 1947 and 1959.  They joined B’nai Emunah in 1972, where he formed the Men’s Club and served as president twice, each time for six years.  Unfortunately Max lost his wife in July 1999.  He loved his fellow members and was a lifetime board member.

Our condolences are with Max’s entire family at this moment.

The Funeral Service will be at Sinai Memorial Chapel on Sunday, August 19, at 11:00am. Graveside service to follow at Salem Memorial.

We will miss Max.

May his memory be for a blessing.

About Gabriele Lange

Multi Media Consultant in SF Bay Area WebDesign at City College 2008-2011 Professional Photographer since 1998 Lived in Berlin, Germany between 1987-1994
This entry was posted in Congregation News, In Memoriam and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In Memoriam Max Drimmer

  1. chaya roberts says:

    What was notable about Max is his humor, and warmth. Bitterness from the Holocaust would
    be what I would expect. But Max was a very grateful person. His intelligence saved him in the
    camps since he told the Nazis he knew a trade. Therefore they put him to work, where he learned
    that trade for real. Few people had the magnetism that drew that Polish civilian to him. I now
    understand that their common Polish ancestry could also have played a role in his relationship with this civilian. Max told me that worker made the escape plan and offered it from his own
    big heart, brave heart. I heard that later that man visited Max, and Max reputedly offered to
    buy him a home. MAX touched my heart, since he was honest, forthright and kind.
    Chaya Roberts, member of Board of Directors, B’nai Emunah congregation

    • Max Drimmer is remembered all over the world as one of the only men to escape Auschwitz. His testimony and that of Herman Shine convicted the famous war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Max’s name rings for freedom and justice wherever free men live and worship. John Milton Heyman O.D.

  2. Paul says:

    Max was a real mensh and a good Jew. He had a good sense of humor and a good memory. May God bless his memory.

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