Max Krakauer (1888 - 1965)

Max Krakauer was born in Hindenburg in Upper Silesia; he later lived with his wife Karoline (called Ines, born 1894) in Leipzig. He served in the First World War, after which he was a businessman and ran the film distribution company that acquired the rights to Charlie Chaplin’s film City Lights in 1932. The film was defamed by the Nazi press, which soon led to the bankruptcy of Krakauer’s company. Since Jews were not permitted into the Reich Film Chamber, which was founded in 1933, that marked the end of Max Krakauer’s film career. He eked out a living over the next few years as a traveling salesman. During the November Pogrom in 1938 he temporarily fled to his sister-in-law in Berlin in order to avoid arrest.

In May 1939 Max and Ines Krakauer moved to Berlin since they thought they might have better chances of getting a visa living there where the consulates were located. They lived with Ines Krakauer’s sister Else Isaac, who operated a guesthouse on Kurfürstendamm boulevard. In late January 1943, Else Isaac was arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Max and Ines Krakauer avoided the same fate only due to a neighbor’s warning. Through an acquaintance they came into contact with the families of Protestant pastors who were members of or affiliated with the Confessing Church and who gave them accommodations: first in Pomerania (March–July 1943) and then from August 1943 on in Württemberg. After a twenty-seven month odyssey through more then sixty parsonages and trustworthy congregation members, Max and Ines Krakauer were in Stetten in the Rems valley on April 21, 1945, when the area was liberated by American forces.

A year after the war ended, Max Krakauer was able to return to his old profession in Stuttgart. In 1947 he received a license from the US military government to "rent films commercially." However, his company was not very successful and had to file bankruptcy. Max Kraukauer died in 1965, his wife Ines in 1972. They were buried in the Jewish section of the Steinhalden Cemetery in Stuttgart.

Krakauer, Max. Lights in Darkness, translated by Hans Martin Wuerth. Stuttgart: Calwer, 2012; first published in German in 1947.
Max Krakauer
Photo: privately owned

Rescue Attempts


  • Confessing Church

    Confessing Church

    This church opposition to the Protestant Church’s forced conformity with the Nazi regime was founded in 1934. It rejected having Christians of Jewish descent excluded from the church. In all state churches except in Württemberg, Bavaria, and Hanover, there was a schism between "German Christians" who were loyal to the regime and supporters of the Confessing Church. Many Confessing Church pastors were imprisoned.



  • People who were "bombed out"

    People who were "bombed out"

    Starting in 1943 more and more people lost their place of residence through air raids. Many Jews in hiding took advantage of this situation. By claiming to have been "bombed out," they received "Aryan" papers and food ration coupons from the authorities, who could no longer check people’s claims since so many documents had been destroyed. This improved their chances of survival.