WartimeReichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht told Max M. Warburg during a meeting in Berlin in September 1937 that he could no longer keep the bank in the Reich investment consortium. Max M. Warburg replied that in that case he would be forced to liquidate the firm. In order to save the Jewish employees’ jobs, he decided a short time later to convert the bank into a public limited company instead. The general manager Dr. Rudolf Brinckmann and a business friend Paul Wirtz took over the bank in May 1938. The sleeping partnership interest in the bank that the Warburg family continued to own was confiscated when the war broke out.
In his memoirs Max M. Warburg wrote, “At the end of August 1938 my wife and I travelled with our daughter Gisela to the United States. It was a holiday trip and we thought that we would be back in Hamburg by late autumn. My responsibilities at the Jewish welfare charity which had grown year by year tied me to Hamburg and I had no plans to emigrate whatsoever.”
On 26 December 1946 Max M. Warburg died in New York aged 79.