Max Gutmann

Max Gutmann

Born: November 23, 1923

Radauti, Romania

Max was raised in the Romanian town of Radauti, a trading and woodworking center near the Ukrainian border. The Gutmanns had a traditional Jewish home, and Max's father was on the board of directors of the local Jewish community. Max's father dealt in grain, feed, and livestock and he was a purveyor of horses for the Romanian military.

1933-39: Max's pony, Lisa, was kept in his family's stables with the other horses. The secondary school he attended was semi-private; it was governed by the state, but each student had to pay a tax to attend. After school he sometimes studied Hebrew with a tutor. In 1938, when Max was 15, he read in the newspaper how Jews in Germany were losing their rights and their property. His family was afraid that similar constraints would be imposed on them in Romania.

1940-44: In June 1940 Max's father was injured after being thrown from a train by Romanian fascist Iron Guard members. Six months later he died of his wounds. When the Romanians deported Radauti's Jews in October 1941, Max's famly was sent east to a ghetto in Transnistria. There they lived in one room with 16 people, mostly relatives. Max worked in a slaughterhouse. When they threw away the bones, skin and organs, hundreds of starving people gathered and fought over them. After three years of suffering, they were liberated by the Soviets in March 1944.

After the war, Max returned to Radauti. In 1958 he left for Vienna, and immigrated to the United States in 1959.

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