Dr. Max Frank, born 14.11.1870

Hansastr. 50, Do-West

Max Frank, born in 1870 in Hameln (Hamelin), came to Dortmund around the turn of the century and practised as a lawyer. In 1901, he married Margarete Elias, and two years later, their son Heinrich was born.

From 1906, he practised jointly with his brother-in-law, the Jewish lawyer Dr. jur. Otto Elias, in offices which they maintained from 1921 to 1933 at Hansastrasse 50. Max had a reputation as one of the best known and most celebrated defence lawyers in the country. He successfully conducted the defence in numerous trials where there was a political background involved. Max Frank was also politically active in the SPD (the German Social Democratic Party), and even briefly sat in parliament for the SPD in the spring of 1921.

Although he had left the Jewish community in or around 1925, he was nevertheless detained in Dortmund’s Steinwache police station for a short time in March 1933 on account of his Jewish ethnicity and his political activities. As a result of these persecution measures, his wife suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be treated in a psychiatric clinic.

According to his own statement, the ban on practising for Jewish lawyers, the public attacks and the treatment of him while in detention also brought Frank to the verge of complete breakdown. This was further exacerbated by the fact that Otto Elias, his brother-in-law, died while in custody at Steinwache in circumstances that have still not been clarified today. As a result of all this, Max Frank left Dortmund in spring 1933 and withdrew to Berlin, where in May 1933 he committed suicide.

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