Max Matschke

Friedrichstr. 34
Stone was laid
08 December 2006
27 January 1897 in Weißagk (Niederlausitz)
Arbeiter, Schutzpolizist (vor 1933), Kostümverleih
Escape into death
19 February 1939 in Berlin
  • Stolperstein für Max Matschke
    Stolperstein für Max Matschke © David Yates

    Stolperstein für Max Matschke © David Yates

Max Matschke was the illegitimate son of a lord of a manor for whom his mother worked as a maid. Soon after Max was born, his mother married a day labourer. After leaving school, Max worked in various positions in hotels and as a labourer before he was sent to fight at the western front in 1916. Later, he ended up in Berlin, where he became a policeman. He left the police service in 1923 on account of his homosexual leanings. From his time on patrol he knew about the special clientele that the restaurant “Klausener” in Friedrich Strasse attracted. He now became a patron of the “Klausener” himself and met his first boyfriend here. His second boyfriend, whom he also met here, ran a costume agency in Friedrich Strasse. Max became his partner and inherited the business when he died. The agency was well known in the film world and popular with the stars. In 1937-38, Max provided Zarah Leander’s costumes for the film “Heimat”. He also dressed Brigitte Horney for the film “Ziel in den Wolken”. By this time, he was leading a part-time relationship with his third boyfriend, whom he saw only at weekends. Fritz K. was a lawyer at Senftenberg district court. During their weekly separations, they wrote each other letters and cards. When the opportunity arose, they went on holiday together. They took great care to be discreet.
In July 1939, a neighbour of Max Matschke’s denounced him to the Gestapo. The neighbour, who lived in the same house as Max, had read a postcard addressed to him which ended with the words “Your loving Fritz”. The two men were arrested and released after making confessions. On 16 September 1939, they were sentenced to several months’ imprisonment. Before beginning their prison sentences, they decided they would rather die together than suffer separation, imprisonment and the destruction of their livelihoods. On 20 September 1939, an employee of the costume agency found them lying side by side in the agency’s kitchen. They had died of gas poisoning.