Max Habermann was an executive board member of the retail employees’ union Deutscher Handelsgehilfenverband (DHV), as well as of the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, and of the Federation of German Trade Unions. In April 1933, he was removed from his offices and placed under house arrest. In 1934 he started gathering oppositionists from the trade union movement around him and forging contacts with other resistance groups, including those around Jakob Kaiser, Wilhelm Leuschner and Josef Wirmer (see the stumbling stone at Dürerstraße 17, Licheterfelde-West). After 1938 Habermann was also in contact with oppositionists in the Wehrmacht. Following the failed assassination attempt on Hitler of 20 July 1944, Habermann went underground but was found by the Gestapo and taken to Gifhorn court prison, where he committed suicide.
He and his family had lived in the house of Arnold Cohn, who was deported because of his Jewish origins.
Streets in Charlottenburg are named after Max Habermann and Josef Wirmer.