The beginning of the end of German Jewry

1933

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Thursday
3 August 1933

Certificate confirming Max Haller’s qualifications as a maritime machinist

One month before immigrating to Palestine, Max Haller (1892–1960) applied to the Department of Trade, Shipping and Commerce for this “Certificate of Qualification as a Maritime Machinist I” It certified that he was authorized to work as a chief engineer on a variety of ships: all engine-driven vessels making coastal, short or marine fishing voyages, steam- and engine-driven vessels with a capacity of up to 2000 hp, and auxiliary-powered sailing vessels on long-distance voyages. Furthermore, he was qualified to work as a machinist on all engine-driven ships making costal, short and medium-range voyages, as well as on all vessels with an engine capacity of up to 6000 hp on long-distance voyages.

Max Haller had already served as a machinist during the First World War, on both warships and submarines. From 1909 to 1911 he completed training in engineering, shipbuilding, boiler-making and mechanics at the Vulkan shipyards in Hamburg and afterward served in the merchant navy. He received many medals during the war, including the Iron Cross First and Second Class, the Submarine Insignia, the Austrian Silver Medal for Bravery, the Liyakat Medal and the Gallipoli Star of the Ottoman Empire.

After the war, Haller became a plant manager at the R. Dahl machinery factory in Berlin. In 1930 he went into business for himself, opening an electric and radio shop in the Schöneberg district of Berlin. On 1 April 1933—the day of the nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany—he displayed his war medals in the shop window. However, he had already understood the wider significance of the developments taking place in his country. A longstanding member of the Association of Jewish Engineers for the Technical Development of Palestine, he left Germany with his wife and two daughters in early September, taking his certificate of qualification with him.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): boycott | emigration | frontline soldiers
Certificate of Qualification as a Maritime Machinist I, issued to Max Heller, Hamburg, 3 August 1933
Gift of I. Dinah Haller

A life at sea

In Palestine Max Haller returned to his original profession and went back to sea. During the next eight years he worked as a machinist and later he served as chief engineer on cargo vessels in the naval fleet. In 1936, supplementing his German qualifications, he took the first engineer’s examination for steam- and diesel-powered ships conducted by a British commission.

When war broke out, his ship was confiscated by the British Navy, but he was able to continue his service. In 1941 he transferred directly to the British Admiralty and until 1946 he worked as the technical director of the Royal Naval Armament Depot in Ismailia, Egypt. For the next two years he served as chief engineer under the Sea Transport Officer in Haifa.

After Israel was established in 1948, Max Haller—fifty-six years old at the time—volunteered for the newly formed Israeli navy. Until 1953 he served as the engineer responsible for the seaworthiness of war and auxiliary vessels. In 1957 he left the navy and sailed on various ships in the constantly growing Israeli merchant fleet. Due to his wife’s deteriorating health, he moved with her to Berlin in 1958 and died there in 1960 at the age of sixty-eight.

Max Haller with his daughter Dinah, ca. 1950.
Gift of I. Dinah Haller 
CREDITS