Born: April 1, 1901, Hodonin, Czechoslovakia
Max was the oldest of six children born to Jewish parents in the small Moravian town of Hodonin, where his father ran a dry-goods and clothing store. His family spoke both Czech and German at home, and Max attended German-language schools in Hodonin and Lipnik. He completed his education in 1920. Born with a heart condition, Max lived a sheltered life.
1933-39: Max's father, Bernard, was getting on in years and wanted to retire. Max was not strong enough to take over the business, so the Krakauers sold the store in 1938 and moved to the Moravian capital of Brno. Max was living with his parents in Brno when the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939. The Germans quickly imposed restrictions on the Jewish population.
1940-42: During the occupation, the Krakauers were forced to sell their valuables to the state. In 1941 they were required to wear an identifying Jewish badge when they went out in public. On April 8, 1942, Max and his parents were ordered to report to a nursing school in Brno. Each person was allowed to bring 44 pounds of luggage. They were deported by train to the Theresienstadt ghetto [Terezin] in western Czechoslovakia. Ten days later, Max was deported from Theresienstadt to the Rejowiec forced-labor camp for Jews.
Max, 41, died either in Rejowiec or in an extermination camp in Poland.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC