A Great American Rests - The Legacy of Max Heller - 1919-2011

It was 1919 and Greenville, South Carolina had emerged from World War I with a surge of patriotism and community spirit. Main Street was a center of activity and a building boom brought the Woodside Building, the Chamber of Commerce Building and the Poinsett Hotel to the downtown. The textile mills that circled the city were operating at full speed. It was an exciting time.

In Vienna, Austria, on May 28, 1919, Max Heller was born to Israel and Leah Heller. In the photo, Max's sister Paula is on the left, his mother Leah in the center and Max on the right. Max grew up with a firm family foundation and a strong work ethic which carried him forward with vision and insight.

After graduating from high school, he went to work in the wholesale business and was soon promoted to foreman and then buyer. This determination and strength of character would lead him to become, in later life, one of the driving forces in the revitalization of Greenville, South Carolina.

In 1938 Wehrmacht troops entered Austria to enforce the Anschluss of annexation of Austria and Nazi Germany. The stories of persecution, imprisonment and murder became very real for the Jewish community. Jewish stores were plundered, businesses confiscated and Jews in Vienna began to fear for their lives. Israel Heller lost his business and Max lost his job.

See the rest from the inscriptions of the Max Heller Legacy Plaza in Greenville, SC.

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