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Max Haller’s Medals


Velvet cushion with Max Haller's medals, 1915-1918
© Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of I. Dinah Haller, photo: Jens Ziehe

The personal collection of medals from the First World War of the sailor Max Haller (1892–1960) is presented on a velvet cushion. The son of a synagogue cantor from Silesia began work on German merchant vessels in 1911 and joined the Imperial German Navy two years later. He volunteered for service in the German submarine fleet in 1915 and was on active duty in the Mediterranean until the end of the war.

Max Haller received military decoration from three allied empires. The Austrian emperor honored him with the medal for bravery carrying the portrait of Karl I. The Ottoman Empire presented the German seaman with the Iron Crescent, also known as the Gallipoli Star, and the Liyakat Medal with the red-green ribbon. He received First and Second Class Iron Crosses and the Submarine War Badge, first introduced in 1918, from the German Empire.

Around 100,000 German Jews fought in the First World War of whom approximately 12,000 fell, among them Max Haller’s two brothers. Max Haller later opened a radio shop in Berlin, which was threatened by the Nazis in the boycott of April 1933. This experience made Haller decide to leave Germany. He emigrated with his family to Palestine in the fall of that year. There he returned to seafaring as chief engineer on various merchant ships. At the age of 56, he volunteered once again for active duty on a corvette when the naval arm of the Israeli Defence force was formed in 1948. He retired as a captain in 1957.

Object Details:
Velvet cushion with medal collection of Max Haller
1915–1918
Velvet, iron, silver, bronze, brass, glass
14,5 x 19 x 1,2 cm

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