CHARLESTON, SC (COFC) - The College of Charleston announced Thursday a $1.5 million gift from Charleston entrepreneur Anita Zucker to establish the Holocaust Education Initiative at the College.
In addition to endowing a chair of Holocaust Studies, this gift will provide funding for Holocaust education initiatives, such as travel to Eastern Europe, research opportunities for students, the development of Holocaust archives and public programming.
"It is absolutely vital that today's younger generations study and appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the Holocaust – a period that demonstrated the full range of man's capacity for horrendous acts of brutality and displays of astounding faith and courage," said CofC President P. George Benson. "It is fitting that Charleston, which in the early 19th century had the largest Jewish population of any city in North America, become a focal point for Holocaust research and education."
The Holocaust is a prominent part of the personal histories of Anita Zucker and her late husband, Jerry. Both of their parents were Holocaust survivors.
"The Holocaust shows a broken world in need of repair. I want students to learn of the horrors of the Holocaust in order to learn from them," said Zucker. "Jerry and I and our families want to honor our parents and the countless victims and survivors of the Holocaust. We want their legacy to be the importance of helping others, even in the face of unspeakable evil. It is my hope that we will send this message through this Initiative."
"The new Center for Holocaust Education will assure that the horrible nightmare that engulfed Europe and its Jewish community will be taught to future generations," said Martin Perlmutter, director, Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program. "This is a major gift to the program and to future generations of College of Charleston students. I am moved beyond words that Anita Zucker and her family will make the center a reality. "
Zucker is chairperson and CEO of The InterTech Group, her family's holding company. The family owns a number of businesses in Charleston, including the Carolina Ice Palace, Sunfire Grill and Bistro in West Ashley and the Tristan restaurant on Market Street, and co-owns the South Carolina Stingrays. She serves on the Advisory Boards of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Jewish Studies program and is a member of the Board of Governors of the School of Business.