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Myrtle Beach area Holocaust survivor speaks at CCU on remembrance and legacy

March 7, 2018
Hugo Schiller, Myrtle Beach resident and childhood survivor of the Holocaust, will discuss his memories, experiences and the importance of a personal perspective in his lecture “A Voice from the Hol

Holocaust survivor and Myrtle Beach resident Hugo Schiller will share his memories and experiences as a 9-year-old in Germany during the Nazi regime in a lecture titled “A Voice from the Holocaust” on Monday, March 12, at 5 p.m. in the Coastal Theater at Coastal Carolina University. The event is free and open to the public.

Schiller was deported from Grunsfeld, Germany, to Gurs, a concentration camp in France. His parents were transported to and executed at Auschwitz, and Schiller was moved to a children’s home. In 1942, Schiller was smuggled out of France and sent to the United States. He has been a resident of Myrtle Beach since 1967.

Remaining survivors of the Holocaust, who endured the ordeal as children, are currently in their mid-80s. As the number of first-hand witnesses to the terror of the Nazi regime dwindles around the world, it becomes increasingly important that their story be told to the broadest audience possible.

“I didn’t really focus much on the past until I realized that I was going to be one of those left when most of the people that had witnessed it had gone, and at that point, I sort of felt the urge to let people know,” said Schiller in a 1991 interview with Daphne Lurie.

“When the last of us survivors are gone, when the last American liberators and the camps are gone, there will be no live witnesses, and when this recedes into the pages of history, it loses its horror. It creates a greater possibility that it can happen again.”

The lecture takes place in conjunction with a mobile exhibit from the Columbia Holocaust Education Center, “Holocaust Remembered,” on display on the first floor of CCU’s Kimbel Library through Thursday, March 22. The exhibit was created to honor memories of the survivors and victims of the Holocaust and liberators of concentration camps who now live in South Carolina, and to teach others through those memories.

Gary Schmidt, chair and professor of CCU’s Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, said the lecture and exhibit offer an important reminder of the effects of the Holocaust on local areas and people.

“For many people, the Holocaust happened a long time ago,” said Schmidt. “The exhibit tells stories and shows how [the Holocaust] impacted the local area and the country.”

Schiller and his wife, Ellie, realized their dream of having an area Holocaust memorial built in 2016 when the Butterfly Memorial Monument was unveiled near Crabtree Gymnasium in The Market Common section of Myrtle Beach on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Coastal Theater is in Room A-110 of the Lib Jackson Student Union at 100 Spadoni Park Circle on the main CCU campus in Conway. Parking is available in lots E and MM; visit coastal.edu/safety/parking.

For more information, contact Schmidt at 843-349-2741. For more cultural events at CCU, visit coastal.edu/culturalarts.

Additional links:

Columbia Holocaust Education Commission