Dedication of The Max and Trude Heller LibraryNovember 30, 2021
Max and Trude Heller, pillars of the Greenville community and beloved Woodlands at Furman residents, inspired generations of Greenvillians and South Carolinians to be doers and to follow their dreams. From humble European roots, the Hellers came to Greenville in hope of a new future after fleeing their native Vienna after it fell to Nazi rule. Max rose from his beginnings as a humble floor sweeper at a local textile company to that very company’s vice president and then on to founding his own company. With Trude by his side, Max went on to serve on the city council and then was elected Mayor, serving from 1971 through 1979. During his time in office, he pushed the desegregation of City Hall, pushed the construction of affordable housing and community centers, and created the Greenville Transit Authority. Perhaps he is best known, though, for his role in revitalizing and redesigning the then blighted downtown into an urban oasis, attracting business and tourism alike, which garnered him the title of “Father of Modern Greenville.” Following his two terms in office, the Hellers traveled the world to attract businesses to open shop in South Carolina as part of his position as Chair of the South Carolina State Development Board. In retirement, the Hellers found their way to The Woodlands at Furman, a Life Care community with Independent Living Apartments and Single-Family Homes, Assisted Living, Memory Support, and Skilled Nursing. After Max’s passing in 2011. Trude continued living at The Woodlands which served as the home base for her educational programs, sharing the ideas of love and speaking truth to the Holocaust and the experiences she faced as a teenager fleeing Hitler. Just before her passing at age 98 in 2021, Trude published her memoir “Tell Them You Met Me’” further cementing her goal of speaking of the Holocaust’s existence and preventing it from ever being forgotten. It is for these monumental legacies that Max and Trude’s home, The Woodlands at Furman and it’s philanthropy The Legacy Fund, is dedicating their library in memory of the Hellers, through support from the Heller Children, Francie, Susan, and Steven.