Holocaust survivor Max Glauben meeting Michael Sam

Holocaust survivor Max Glauben. 94, has died.

Glauben fought in and survived the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The story is part of the exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. And the museum is there because of him. He was one of a group of survivors living in Dallas who created one of the first Holocaust museums in the U.S.

But here’s what I’ll always remember about him. He was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.

When Michael Sam spoke at an event put together by the Holocaust Museum, Glauben was like a kid and only wanted to get his picture with his football hero. Sam was overwhelmed with emotion that someone who had experienced so much in his life would consider him a hero. They took a great picture together.

A few years earlier, when Westboro Baptist Church came to protest the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Congregation Beth El Binah, museum personnel warned local Holocaust survivors to stay away. But Glauben was front and center.

“If some stupid signs were the worst thing I ever saw in my life, I’ve lived a pretty good life,” he said to me that morning. He spent the rest of that day giving tours of the museum to people who had come to counter-protest Westboro.

And when the Holocaust Museum was recording local survivors to preserve history, Glauben answered questions for 40 hours. In the museum’s theater, you can ask a question and a hologram of Glauben will answer the question. He said he did it for his grandchildren and their grandchildren. If you go to the Holocaust Museum for no other reason, go ask Max a question.

So Max will be with us for a long time, just as he planned.

According to the Holocaust Museum, “Born Moniek Mendel Glauben on Jan. 14, 1928, Max grew up in Warsaw, Poland with his mother and father, Faiga and Isaak, and little brother, Heniek. He was only eleven when Germany invaded his hometown.

“In November 1940, the Germans sealed off the Warsaw Ghetto and its Jewish residents from the rest of the city. Max survived starvation and disease and helped to keep his family and many others alive by smuggling food into the ghetto.

“He and his family survived the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by hiding in a basement and were deported by box car to Majdanek Death Camp in May 1943. 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.

“Max immigrated to the United States in 1947. Drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Max was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas.”

He’s survived by his wonderful wife of 69 years, Frieda, three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. And Dallas has lost one of the nicest people who has ever lived in our city.

— David Taffet