Chief Rabbi in Strasbourg and Bas-Rhin

Courtesy of Rabbis for Human Rights Website

Max Warschawski (right) with his parents and his brother Sally

Rabbi Max Warschawski was born on July 4, 1925 in Strasbourg France. He was orphaned from his mother when he was 8 years old. Upon his mothers death he was cared for by a Jewish refugee family from Germany in Quatzenheim. When Rabbi Warschawski zt”l was 10 years old, his father remarried and he returned to his family in Strasbourg. He studied under the tutelage of Rabbi Abraham Deutsch (1902 - 1992) at the Fustel de Coulanges College until the outbreak of World War II.

Rabbi Max Warschawski and his family left Strasbourg the day before the deportations, and settled in Vichy. He continued his studies in Vichy until 1941, when he became an intern at the local ORT school. In 1942, Rabbi Max Warschawski became the first student at Le Petit Séminaire Israélite de Limoges in Limoges, France, which was founded by Rabbi Abraham Deutsch and trained its students for both rabbinical ordination and academic degrees.

Rabbi Warschawki joined the sixth network of the French Resistance against the Nazis, the Eclaireurs Israélites de France (Jewish Scouts of France) (EIF also known as the Marc-Haguenau company) under the command of the famous resistance organizer Marc Haguenau, (known by his code name Colombe). The EIF was known for its activities in helping the Jews of France avoid arrest and subsequent deportation to concentration camps by obtaining the necessary resources to produce and distribute forged identity papers.

Rabbi Warschawski with the Chief Rabbi of France Jacob Kaplan (april 1958)
© Etienne Klein
At the end of the war, Rabbi Warschawski returned to Limoges, where he taught for a short time at a home for girls. He continued his rabbinical studies at the rabbinical School in Paris between 1945 to 1947, and then spent a year at the Jews College in London where he obtained his Rabbinical Ordination.

In 1948, Rabbi Warschawki returned to France where he became the Rabbi of Bischheim in 1948, and married Mireille Metzger. In 1950 he received a rabbinical diploma from the Seminar of Paris. Rabbi Warschawki continued his service to the Bischheim community until 1954, where he traveled to Strasbourg, to become the assistant of Chief Rabbi Abraham Deutsch.

In 1960, Rabbi Warschawki was offered the position of Chief Rabbi of Algeria. He declined and later succeeded his life long mentor, Rabbi Abraham Deutsch and was officially named Chief Rabbi in Strasbourg. Rabbi Warschawki concentrated on educational activities for the youth of the city.

Max & Mireille Warschawski in Jerusalem (2000) - © M. Rothé
In 1963, Rabbi Warschawki and his wife had a sabbatical year to Israel where they planned on settling. Due to the insistence of the consistory and the community of Strasbourg, they agreed to remain still a few years in Alsace, where Rabbi Warschawki became the Chief Rabbi of the Bas-Rhin region in France until his retirement in 1987.

After his retirement, Max and Mireille Warschawski settled in Jerusalem, to be near their children and grandchildren. He became a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, and was active in promoting social justice and equality for all of the residents of the Middle East.

Rabbi Warschawski authored numerous biographies of famous Jewish Personalities, and many books, articles, audio recordings and movies on Jewish culture and tradition, and the History of the Jews in the Alsace area of France.

Rabbins Judaisme alsacien Histoire
© A . S . I. J . A .