Peter Max was born on October 19, 1937 in Berlin, Germany. He is the son of Salla Finkelstein and Jacob Finkelstein. In 1938, the family left Berlin in order to escape the fomenting Nazi movement and settled down in Shanghai, China, where they lived for the next ten years. In 1948, they settled in Israel. In the early 1950's, the family left for the United States.