January 20, 1925 – March 4, 2021
On Thursday, March 4, 2021, Max Steinmetz, 96 years young, and devoted husband, father of three, and grandfather of six, passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, surrounded by his loving family.
Max Steinmetz was born in Romania on January 20, 1925. At the age of 17, Max and his family were taken into captivity by the Nazis and taken to the Nazi Concentration Camp Auschwitz, where his parents, Ilona and Louis Markowitz, and his sister, Esther, were immediately put to death in a gas chamber. His brother, Henry, died while imprisoned with Max at the Nazi Concentration Camp Dachau. Max survived the Holocaust by escaping during a Death March out of Dachau and obtained a Visa to move to the U.S. in 1948.
Upon arriving in New York in late 1948, Max began a business career which brought him to Birmingham, AL to work for Dan Cohen Shoe Company. After Dan Cohen, Max worked for Bargain Town, USA, eventually serving as its Vice President, where he oversaw the shoe department for the chain of stores for approximately thirty years.
Max married Bettyrene (Betty) Friedman a few years after moving to Birmingham, and the couple had three children. Max spent the last thirty years of his life committed to Holocaust Education. He spoke to thousands of people throughout Alabama and other states about the facts that led to the Holocaust and its impact on his life. The family has established a fund in Max’s honor at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center to support Max’s commitment to Holocaust Education so that such an atrocity never happens to any group of people ever again.
Max is survived by his loving wife, Betty; his children, Stephen (Stephanie) Steinmetz, Lisa (Scott) Morchower, and Caren (Donnie) Fox; six grandchildren, Charlie and Jack Steinmetz, Erica and Elana Morchower, and Hannah and Rachel Fox, several nieces, grand-nieces, a grand-nephew, and many friends.
Funeral services for Max will be held on Sunday, March 7, 2021, at 11:00 am, Graveside at Elmwood Cemetery. Zoom Access to the services is available through registration on the Temple Emanu-El Website.
The family asks that any donations be made in Max’s Honor to either the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center or to Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, AL.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Arlene and Marvin Shelsky
March 26, 2021
Several years ago, Max tasted Marvin’s “famous” potato latkes and gave him the ultimate compliment; Max said they tasted just like his mother’s. Marvin still gets emotional when he shares this information. Max was a hero, and will be missed by all that had the privilege of knowing him.
March 9, 2021
For years while serving as Vice Chancellor at Auburn University Montgomery, I got to know Maw who always came to the university's Holocaust remembrance programs. In the larger general sessions and over lunch with students and faculty, he recounted the facts and emotion journey he and his family traveled. He touched a generation of AUM students ... and for that we are all grateful. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.
Thomas and Sandra Hines
March 6, 2021
We would like to offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to Betty Steinmetz and her family on this occasion. Max was a stalwart figure in the New Horizons community and an inspiration to so many others who admired his determination to convey his message of peace and tolerance. He overcame the worst that life could offer to become a messenger for good and acceptance in a world that struggles with divisiveness and instability. May he rest in peace.
Steve and Kathy Rostand
March 6, 2021
Dear Betty and family,
Kathy and I became good friends with Max at New Horizons. He was a remarkable man who,despite all he had been through, had an uplifting spirit and a twinkle in his eye. He lived a good life and made a difference. He will be missed and he will be remembered.
With our deepest sympathies,
Steve and Kathy
Andi & Joe Preston
March 6, 2021
Dearest Betty; You and Max have always been a blessing to us. You welcomed us to Birmingham and seeing you through the years at community events has always made the day more special. Max will always be remembered with love and respect.
March 5, 2021
Dear Betty and your entire family:
I am so sorry for your loss. Knowing Max has held a special place in my heart. His life has been a blessing and inspiration to so many. Take care.
March 4, 2021
Mr Max will truly be missed. It was an honor and privilege to take care of him the past few years.