He was born in 1930 as Meier Privler, in the village Mikuliczyn, near the town of Jaremcza, Stanisławów voivodeship, Poland (now Mykulychyn, part of the town of Iaremche, Western Ukraine). Jaremcza was occupied by the Germans on June 30, 1941, on the eighth day of the German invasion of the USSR. In March 1942, the local police took Privler and his father to be executed. His father David pushed Maks into the pit before the first volley sounded. The father was then shot and fell into the pit, covering his son with his body and thus saving his life. In 1942, Privler narrowly escaped being shot during the second round-up in the ghetto of Stanisławów. In the fall of 1942, he escaped from the ghetto with some other young Jews. They were arrested near Tarnopol, but Maks succeeded in escaping during the shooting of the other Jews. Much later, while living in Israel, Privler described all this in his book of memoirs "Rasstreliannyi trizhdy [Thrice Executed by Shooting], Tel-Aviv, 1998.
After his last escape, Privler lived in a Ukrainian village in the Carpathian Mountains, passing as a Ukrainian under the alias Iurko Iaremchuk. In the winter of 1942, he joined some Soviet partisans. Later in the winter, when he was seriously ill, Privler was taken by the pilot of a Red Army shuttle plane to the Soviet rear. From the hospital, Privler asked to be sent back to the frontlines. He studied at a school for intelligence and reconnaissance and later, when he was still only 12-14 years old, he served as a young reconnoiterer in a Red Army unit. His highest rank was that of sergeant. He was awarded the Order of Glory, 3rd class.
In 1944, Privler who had mastered the Czech language, was appointed liaison officer between the Soviet command and the HQ of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps of Ludvik Svoboda, a unit that fought together with the Red Army. On May 10, 1945, two days after the capitulation of the German Army, Privler's unit came under artillery fire of a German unit that had refused to lay down its arms. Privler was hit by a shell and brought to a military hospital temporarily blind and half-deaf.
After the war, Privler settled in Dnepropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine, working at various factories. He encountered antisemitism many times immediately after the war, in the 1950s and in the 1970s. In 1990 he moved to Israel, where he has been an active member of the Association of Disabled Veterans of the War against Nazism. He was one of the main founders of the World Association of Young Fighters of the Anti-Hitler Coalition and its president. Privler devotes much time and effort to collecting materials about the young fighters of the anti-Hitler coalition and to the creation of a museum dedicated to them. He authored (together with A. and P. Kremianskii) the documentary collection Jewish Children in the Fight against Nazism, Tel Aviv, 2001.
Before Privler left the Soviet Union, the writer Khaim Melamud published the long Yiddish story "A Hutsul Tale" (the Hutsuls are a Ukrainian ethnic group), which recounts the fate of Maks Privler. (Sovetish Heymland, Nos. 1 and 2, 1979).