MAX MERMELSTEIN z"l
1922 to 2017
|Max Mermelstein, born in Skala, was the son of Shifra Stock and Shlomo Weidenfeld. His older brother Osias was born in 1917. Max's parents and brother perished in 1943, during the Holocaust.
The story of Max's survival during the war years was an amazing one that he told in the Skala yizkor book. Although his original surname was Weidenfeld, he changed it to Mermelstein to honor someone who helped save him during the Holocaust.
After the war, Max eventually ended up in a displaced persons camp in Austria, where he lived until 1948, when he finally was able to come to the U.S. In 1949, he married Clara Kressel. He and Clara celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary shortly before his death in 2017. They had two sons, Steven and Joshua, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Max was employed by the Jewish Agency for many years, during which time he was involved in its work in several different countries. After he left the Jewish Agency, he worked for Histradut before opening his own travel agency.
Max was president of the Skala Benevolent Society (SBS) from the 1970s until his death. He was devoted to the preservation of the memory of the culture of Skala's Jewish community and its Holocaust martyrs and, to that end, he amassed a collection of documents and photographs relating to the town, which he eventually donated to YIVO. Under his direction, the first Skala yizkor Book was published in 1978, written mostly in Yiddish and Hebrew, and a video about Skala was released in 2001. Annual dinners were held, which included a memorial service for residents of the town who were murdered during the Holocaust. Max also co-edited the English translation of the Skala yizkor book, which was published in 2010. In 1997, as president of SBS, Max was involved in the funding and building of a wall around the Jewish cemetery in Skala.
Max Mermelstein was a living link to our heritage in Skala. He always was available to Skala researchers as a source of information about the town and its residents and was a valued mentor during the construction of the Skala website. He will be much missed.