Max Degen was born on the Nieuwe Achtergracht in Amsterdam. As a little baby he was taken by his parents to a Jewish uncle and a non-Jewish, German aunt, to safeguard him against deportation. His parents and his three-year old brother were deported and killed in Sobibor. Max was taken away from his uncle and aunt and taken to the kindergarten opposite the "Hollandse Schouwburg." A resistance group managed to smuggle him away from there.
Max was housed in the safe and loving environment of a reformed family, where he grew up after the war as well. He was aware of his Jewish origins, but at home this was almost a non-issue. His foster parents didn't pursue a higher education for him, and Max eventually made a career in the transportation sector. He lived for a period in Germany while with the Dutch Air Force and enjoyed his stay there.
Because of his past he suffered from mental health problems for a while. Jewry and Jewish religion came to life for him at a higher age. Max plays an active role in the "war community" and during the interview recalls how he experiences the Demjanjuk trial.
Max Degen is married with Lutie, they have two sons and five grandchildren.