Max Glauben, Holocaust survivor, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum co-founder and “Upstander” passed away Thursday, April 28, 2022 on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Born Moniek Mendel Glauben on January 14, 1928, Max grew up in Warsaw, Poland with his mother and father, Faiga and Isaak, and little brother, Heniek. He was only 11 when Germany invaded his hometown. He survived starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto until the defeat of the ghetto uprising in May 1943. He and his family were deported in a box car to Majdanek Death Camp. There his mother and brother were murdered. Max and his father were selected for slave labor and transported to Budzyn, where his father was murdered, and Max became an orphan. It was during this time that Max discovered he was ‘mechanically inclined,’ a trait which stayed with him throughout his life. He was held in four other slave labor camps before being sent on a death march to Dachau Concentration Camp. A few weeks into the death march, Max and his fellow inmates were liberated by the U.S. Army on April 23, 1945. He immigrated to the United States in 1947 and eventually served in the U.S. Army. After being stationed in Fort Hood, he moved to Dallas, where he built a new life with his wife, Frieda.
“Max embodied the spirit of resiliency. He turned the atrocities inflicted upon him, his family, and six million Jews during the Holocaust into a message of kindness, love, and optimism,” said Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins. “He taught us that there is hope in hopelessness and that one person can make a difference.”
While Max may not have had formal schooling past age 11, he gave the world an invaluable education. Over the decades, Max shared his story with thousands of schoolchildren, many of whom now have children of their own who also learned from his profound lessons. He often told students to be thankful for their parents and the right to education – because he had both taken from him. For 14 years, Max participated in the International March of the Living, helping lead young people to Poland and Israel to learn about the Holocaust and to explore the roots of antisemitism and hatred.
The Texas Jewish Post covered Max Glauben numerous times over the years. Some of the stories below:
In the late 1970s, Max was a part of a group of local Holocaust Survivors who came together with the goal of creating a memorial center where they could remember their loved ones and educate future generations about the devastating horrors of the Holocaust. He devoted his life to this work, from the Museum’s first home at the Jewish Community Center in 1984, to the move downtown in 2005, to the 2019 opening of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum – a dream 40 years in the making.
In 2018, Max was filmed by the USC Shoah Foundation as part of a pioneering project to record the testimonies of Holocaust Survivors to create an interactive biography to allow future generations to have conversations with these eyewitnesses to history. Max is one of twelve Survivors featured in the interactive Dimensions in TestimonySM Theater experience at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
In an interview for filming his testimony, Max shared “I thought that my knowledge could cure the hatred and bigotry and the killings in this world if somebody can listen to my story, my testimony, and be educated even after I’m gone.” In honor of this, Max will be the featured speaker at the Museum’s Dimensions in TestimonySM from now through the month of May. Afterward, he will continue as the featured Survivor every Friday.
Max was recently celebrated by the Museum in November 2021 as the honoree of the Hope for Humanity award. He was named “Texan of the Year” in 2019 by The Dallas Morning News. In 2020, SMU conferred upon him an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition for his exceptional and extensive work combatting intolerance and keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.
Max is survived by his loving wife of nearly 69 years, Frieda, their three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.