In 1892, Max Lazarus was born in the house at Zuckerbergstraße 20. He was one of the most important artists in Trier in the 1920s and one of the most sought-after synagogue painters in western Germany. His story is the story of many Jewish people: It is the story of forced emigration, the destruction of a hopeful career, the loss of loved ones and, of course, the story of a family torn apart.
Max Lazarus trained as a church painter in Trier. After attending the School of Crafts and Applied Arts, he continued his education at the most progressive schools of arts and crafts in Germany, including Düsseldorf, Munich, Weimar and Berlin. Back in Trier, he was one of the co-founders of the Trier Artists' Guild and had successful exhibitions. He married, had a daughter in 1924 and built a house in Deutschherrenstraße in the same year.
The National Socialists began the cultural "cleansing" shortly afterwards: Max Lazarus did not become a member of the Reich Chamber of Culture, was no longer allowed to exhibit and earned a living for himself and his family as a house painter. In autumn 1938, he managed to emigrate to the USA, initially to St. Louis. There, too, he was soon successful and became a member of the St. Louis Artist Guild. Then he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to move to Denver, the "Mile High City". There was better air and a Jewish sanatorium where he was a patient for two years. During this time he taught art to his fellow patients. This was so successful that he was subsequently employed as an art teacher there.
He came back to Trier after the war in 1956 to look for his family members. He had six siblings, two brothers and four sisters. Three of these sisters were murdered in the Holocaust; they are remembered by the Stolpersteine in front of the door of the family home. Back in Denver, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died in December 1961. The Stadtmuseum Simeonstift organised an exhibition in his memory in 2010. The opening was attended by 27 family members from all over the world, some of whom met for the first time in 70 years. It is hoped that with this family reunion and with this exhibition, the memory of Max Lazarus can be preserved.
Author: Dr. Bärbel Schulte
Editorial staff: Prof. Dr. Frank G. Hirschmann