Humble Beginnings – Candy Manufacturer
At the turn of the 20th century, Berlin was in a buzz. After decades of neglect, the Imperial government was hiring scientists, engineers and urban planners. By 1904 Berlin was becoming the world’s model city – a modern public transportation system was in place and the city was expanding into new neighborhoods outside of the city center. Such a neighborhood was Kreuzberg, where Helena and Max-Mendel Lewin lived.
While developing his singing career, Max had to provide for his new family. Going into candy manufacturing made sense because Max knew this business from home. According to Berlin’s business directory, by 1904 Max was running his first company – the “St. Petersburger Romanow”. His business partner was Moritz Kaufmann, Helena’s big brother. Helena’s other siblings had also left Poland and were residing in Berlin. In 1906, for an unknown reason, the partnership broke up. Moritz would later be killed as a soldier during WWI.
Max then established two additional candy companies, before he finally put the sweets business behind. By then, he had gained sufficient experience and recognition as a singer. In 1909 he enrolled as a student at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, whereby launching a full-time career as an artist.