At the turn of the 20th century, Berlin was in a buzz. After decades of neglect, the Imperial government was bringing scientists, engineers and urban planners, and 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, one of them was Kreuzberg, where Helena and Mendel now lived.
This was a perfect time to start a new business. According to Berlin’s business directory, by 1904 Max was running his first candy manufacturing company, the “St. Petersburger Confitüren-Fabrik «Romanow» Mendel Lewin”.
This is no surprise. Being a young Russian immigrant with no connections or relatives in the city, it makes sense that Max turned to what he knew best from home – making sweets. Max was in regular letter contact with his parents and sister, so it is safe to assume that advice on how to build and run the business was gladly given.
One year later, the company changed its name to “St. Petersburger Confitüren-Fabrik «Romanow» Lewin & Kaufmann”, when a new partner joined the business – this was Moritz Kaufmann, Helena’s big brother. As a matter of fact, all of Helena’s siblings left Poland and practically gathered in Berlin. But in 1906, for an unknown reason, Max dissolved the partnership with his brother-in-law. Moritz would later be killed in 1914 in WWI.
Max then took another partner but this didn’t last either and a year later, it was Max who left the partnership. His final attempt at sweets manufacturing was when he opened “Exquisit – Russian Chocolate and Confiture Factory”, but again, it closed after one year and Max decided to put the sweets business behind.
In 1909 Max Lewin enrolled as a student at the Stern Music Academy and thus began his musical career.