I have just returned from The Levaya or Jewish Burial service for my old Boss, friend, and mentor, Max Stern. Max would have been 95 in just 2 weeks time and we were preparing a party to celebrate on behalf of the Australasian Philatelic Traders Association. Max was truly a legend in the stamp world, and a trader for nearly 80 years. He knew no political boundaries and was a major trader with communist Russia and Eastern Europe when they were off limits to most people in the West. Likewise he traded with China well before President Nixon or Gough Whitlam opened them up to Western trade, and he even dealt with North Korea. He also traded with most Arab countries and others in the Middle East such as Lebanon and Egypt, despite being Jewish himself. He had major government contacts in many of these countries and could pull strings that no other businessman in Australia could match. He spoke German, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, English and Yiddish fluently. As one of the world's major new issue dealers, Max helped a lot of poor countries earn desperately needed foreign exchange, and gave their Post Offices many incredibly successful marketing ideas. He was able to organize most of the joint issues that Australia has had with other countries through his personal contacts in both countries at the time. He was a generous benefactor to many Jewish charities, and his business provided income for all his greater family in modern times, and even back to pre war days when the Nazis closed down his family’s haberdashery business because they were Jewish.
VALE Max Stern. Philatelic legend, family hero, Melbourne icon and SURVIVOR.
by Tony Shields
For full article see upcoming IFSDA Magazine, tête-bêche April 2016.