Dr. Selden Smith, of blessed memory, was a member of the Council since its creation in 1989.
He served as its Chair for many years and is credited as being the “father” of Holocaust education
in South Carolina. He became interested in Holocaust education when he was approached to teach a course
at Columbia College. His subsequent research and connections with survivors and liberators in South
Carolina made him a committed advocate of training educators to study about and recognize the early
warning signs of genocide. Dr. Smith felt very strongly, as espoused by historian Peter Hayes, that
teachers must make genocide prevention a global priority.
Dr. Smith organized and team-taught a graduate credit workshop on Teaching the Holocaust to hundreds of
educators throughout the state for two decades. He was also instrumental in creating the Selden K. Smith
Foundation for Holocaust Education, named in his honor, to expand the Council’s projects.
Dr. Smith passed away on February 12, 2018 at the age of 88. He is deeply missed. You can read more about
Dr. Smith’s many contributions to Holocaust education here.
Lilly Filler - Chair
Dr. Lilly S Filler, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is a daughter of Holocaust Survivors
Jadzia and Ben Stern. Born in Munich, Germany following WWII, she emigrated with her
parents to the US in 1949.
In 2000, Dr. Filler chaired the “Holocaust Memorial” project to have the Memorial designed,
erected, and dedicated in Memorial Park in Columbia, SC. Following this project she formed the
Columbia Holocaust Education Commission and continues to be co-chair. Through this commission, the
“Holocaust Remembered” exhibit and supplement were developed and continue to provide continuous
accurate information to the midlands community.
She is a speaker about the Holocaust, throughout the year. She was appointed to the SC Council of
the Holocaust in 2005 and is presently serving as Secretary. Dr. Filler resides in Columbia with her
husband Bruce and is the mother of 3 children and grandmother of 5.
Carl Evans - Vice Chair
Dr. Carl Evans (PhD, University of Chicago) has served on the Council since 1995. He is now retired from the Religious Studies department at the University of South Carolina where he taught 35 years.
During his entire professional career, Dr. Evans has worked to promote understanding and cooperation among the religions in our state and region. His interest in Holocaust education began in the mid-1970s when he became involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue and helped establish the Christian-Jewish Congress of South Carolina. Learning the lessons of the Holocaust was a frequent topic of conversation in living room dialogue groups of C-JCSC.
participation of eleven different religions as it seeks to reflect the religious diversity of our state.
Emily Taylor - Secretary
Emily Taylor has taught at Swansea High School for over 27 years, 9 years as a Media Specialist and over 17 years as an English instructor. She became passionate about the teaching of the Holocaust in 1996 through the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Institute in New York City. Since this time, Ms. Taylor has participated in numerous courses and institutes on the Holocaust, including Teaching about the Holocaust through the South Carolina Council with Dr. Selden Smith. She has worked with the Council’s Teacher Advisory Committee since its creation in 1997 and is currently its Chair.
Margaret Walden - Treasurer
Margaret Walden has been a part of the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust since its inception in 1989.
She has served in many roles as an officer of the board, including as Chair; she now serves as its treasurer.
Ms. Walden has been an educator for 45 years. She has held positions as a social studies teacher, an
assistant principal, SC State Social Studies Consultant, school district administrator, and SCDE Education
She has also served on the board of the Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO), an international
association for organizations teaching about the Holocaust, and on the board of the Selden K. Smith
Foundation. Previously Ms. Walden served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Council of State Social
Studies Specialists and Chair of the Richland Two Charter High School Board of Directors.
Leah Chase has served on the Council since its beginning in 1989, and she oversees the Council’s biannual
educational trip to Eastern Europe. She is a freelance journalist who has travelled extensively in Israel
and countries along the Mediterranean. Her writing frequently appears on the Post and Courier’s commentary
page, and she has been published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wire service, Hadassah Magazine, and Jewish
newspapers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Phoenix, and New York.
She was named a “Woman Who Makes a Difference” by the Charleston chapter of Hadassah, was a founding member
of the Charleston Foreign Affairs Forum, was named a High Profile Community Personality by the Post and Courier,
and voted one of the city’s ten “Best Mannered Charlestonians.” She served as president of the Charleston Cancer
Association, BSBI Sisterhood, the South Windermere Garden Club, and the Charleston Hebrew Institute PTA. She was
the Assistant Director of the Charleston Jewish Federation, and she has also chaired its Jewish Community Relations
Committee. For many years, she edited the award-winning newspaper, The Charleston Jewish Journal.
Eileen Chepenik, from Charleston, has served on the Council since 2001. She interviewed numerous Holocaust
survivors and liberators for Steven Spielberg's Visual History of the Shoah Foundation. She serves on the
REMEMBER Committee of Charleston Jewish Federation and produces a Holocaust education supplement annually
for the Post and Courier.
She is an active volunteer in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and has served in a variety of
leadership capacities. She is Immediate Past Chair of the Council and served as secretary for many years
prior to becoming Chair. She has served as President of the Charleston Chapter of Hadassah, Chair and
Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, President of Hebrew Orphan Society and President of
the Rotary Club of North Charleston. She is President-Elect of Charleston Jewish Federation Professionally,
she is the Executive Director of Trident Literacy Association, an award-winning nonprofit adult education
program for people who do not have high school credentials, and non-native speakers of English.
Denise Deveaux has been a teacher for 32 years of which the last 25 years have been at Northwood Academy in Summerville,
SC. She teaches Advanced Placement and College Preparatory World History and World Studies and is the Humanities
Department Head. She has been involved in Holocaust Education since 2001. Denise credits her inspiration for working
to further Holocaust Education to Joe Engel, a Holocaust survivor and Charleston, SC resident. She also serves on
the Charleston Jewish Federation Remember Committee for Holocaust and Genocide Education.
Ms. Deveaux will become a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow in July and a is a Jewish Foundation
for the Righteous Alfred Lerner Fellow. She was an Educator Delegate for the Partnership 2gether Hadera Israel
Consortium. She is a member of the National Council for the Social Studies and the South Carolina Council on the
Social Studies. She is the Charleston Southern University Alumni Association Executive Board Treasurer. Denise
resides in Goose Creek, SC and has been married for 36 years. She has three sons, two grandchildren, and six
Dr. Melinda Menzer
Dr. Melinda J. Menzer is a professor of English at Furman University in Greenville. Dr. Menzer earned a B.A. from
Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2003, she traveled to Lithuania,
where she visited the places where her grandfather's family had lived and where they were murdered during the Holocaust.
Dr. Menzer has spoken to audiences across the Upstate about her family's Holocaust experience. She is a congregant at
the Temple of Israel in Greenville, where she chairs the social action committee and teaches Hebrew.
Jennifer Myers has been a teacher in South Carolina public schools since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree
in Interdisciplinary Studies from Coastal Carolina University and a Master’s degree in Teaching with a concentration
in Secondary Education (English). Jenn is an Alfred Lerner Fellow through the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.
Jenn is passionate about Holocaust education and about cultivating in students a desire to be upstanders in their
Dr. Donald Sloan
Dr. Donald S. Sloan is an award-winning composer and Professor of Music at Coastal Carolina University. Previously,
he was on the faculties of Ashland University (OH) and Binghamton University. He has served in several different
administrative capacities in addition to his teaching duties and remains active as a musician.
Dr. Sloan has been involved in Jewish communities wherever he has lived, as a board member, teacher and co-director
of the choir at Beth El in Akron, OH and currently serving as President of Temple Emanu-El in Myrtle Beach, SC.
He has also studied cantorial singing, is the Ba’al Tekiyah (shofar blower) at his synagogue and often incorporates
Jewish themes into his compositions.
Dr. Sloan’s father Curtis Sloan (né Kurt Salomon) was born in Westphalia, Germany, and had a unique history with
the Nazi Era and the Holocaust. He was sent out of Germany as a teenager in 1936 and was joined by his sister and
parents several years later. He helped in getting other family members out of Germany before the US got involved in
WWII. He then went back to serve as a translator for the US Army, eventually working with displaced persons, including
Concentration Camp survivors. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
Joe Engel is a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp. He was only about 12 years old when the Nazis came
to his home town of Zakrocyzm, Poland and shot 150 young men in the town square. At Auschwitz, he was known as
84009, the number tattooed on his arm.
Mr. Engel was selected for slave labor instead of the gas chamber by the infamous Dr. Mengele, and he was sent
to a bricklaying detachment. Mr. Engel was among the 66,000 prisoners who were sent on the forced “Death Marches”
in the bitter cold of January 1945 as the Nazis tried to hide their evil crimes from the approaching Red Army. He
escaped and joined the partisans in the forest until he was liberated.
Mr. Engel came to Charleston in 1949 and ran a successful dry-cleaning business for many years. He has dedicated
his life to sharing his experience with tens of thousands of people, young and old, making sure that the Holocaust
is not forgotten.
Annie Rivers - Sumter County Museum
Annie Abrams Rivers grew up in Myrtle Beach. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in
English from the University of South Carolina with Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa
honors. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Public History with a focus on Museum
Studies from North Carolina State University.
She began working at the Sumter County Museum in June 2013 and was named the Executive
Director in November 2013. She serves on the Sumter County Historical Commission Board
and represents Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter counties on the Board of Directors of the
Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies.
Annie worked with Sumter’s Temple Sinai members Roger Ackerman and Jay Schwartz to open
the Temple Sinai Jewish History Center as a facility of the Sumter County Museum in June
2018. The Center’s mission is to preserve the beautiful and historic 1913 Temple Sinai building,
the stories of Jewish life in Sumter, and serve as a resource on the Holocaust for local students.
It holds the only permanent exhibit on the Holocaust in the state of South Carolina. The exhibit
has won three awards including the South Carolina Federation of Museums Award of
Achievement, Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies Award of Merit, and
the South Carolina Historic Preservation Stewardship Award.
She is married to Thomas Rivers who works at Black River Electric Cooperative. They
welcomed their first child in June 2017.
Lyssa Harvey - The Columbia Holocaust Education Commission
Lyssa Harvey Ed.S , is a lifetime resident of Columbia, SC. She is the Co-Chair of The Columbia Holocaust Education
Commission and was instrumental in creating the Holocaust Remembered Exhibit. Ms. Harvey has served on the board of The
Jewish Historical Society of SC and created the Columbia Jewish Cultural Arts program. She has served on the Columbia
Federation Board of Directors and The Columbia Jewish Community Center Board for over 25 years. She was awarded the
Columbia Jewish Federation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2015. Columbia Historic Foundation recently awarded her The
Innovative Leadership Award for her work on the Jewish Heritage Initiative. Ms. Harvey is active in the Columbia Arts
Community. Ms. Harvey, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Columbia, SC where she specializes
in working with children and families. She is also a SC Signature Watercolor Artist that specializes in Judaic Art and
exhibits her paintings throughout the South East. She is married to attorney, Jonathan Harvey. They have 3 children and
Minda Miller - The Selden K. Smith Foundation
Minda Miller currently serves as chair of The Selden K. Smith Foundation for Holocaust Education.
She is also on the Board of the Columbia Holocaust Education Commission. She is married to Dr.
Henry Miller, whose parents, Cela and David, were the first Holocaust survivors to make Columbia
their home in 1949. Her in-laws’ experiences are what has inspired and motivated Minda to promote
Holocaust and tolerance education in our state. Minda is a former special education teacher in Richland
One. She is involved in various volunteer activities in the community. Since 2010, she has been the
director of Beth Shalom Synagogue's Tuesdays With Friends senior program.
Rebecca Engel - The Jewish Federation of Charleston
Rebecca Engel is a fourth generation Charlestonian through she grew up in New Jersey and attended
Rutgers University. After two years living in Israel, Rebecca spent a decade in New York, earning
her Masters in Social Work from Yeshiva University with a focus in Jewish Communal Service and
training camp professionals in informal education at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. She also served
as President of Advancing Jewish Professionals, the NY Chapter of the Jewish Communal Service
Association and held a graduate school internship in both the planning and fundraising sides of the
UJA-Federation of New York. In 2015, Rebecca returned to Charleston and is currently Director of
Strategic Initiatives at Charleston Jewish Federation, where she aims to honor her grandparents’
legacy and love for the local Jewish community every day. Her portfolio includes the REMEMBER Program
for Holocaust Education and Genocide Awareness as well as additional roles pertaining to leadership
development and community relations. Rebecca and her husband Aaron welcomed their first child, Edith
Rose, in February 2018.
Marla Palmer teaches history at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, SC. She has taught
since 1999 in several states (California, North Carolina and South Caroline) at the middle and
high school levels, as well as several courses at Greenville Technical College. She holds a B.A.
in History from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, an M.A. in Modern European History from
the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a teaching credential from Clemson
University. In addition to studying the Holocaust and antisemitism in graduate school, and taking
several summer professional development courses in this area, she has a personal connection to
the Holocaust. On her mother's side, a number of members of her family emigrated to America
from Europe in the 1920s; most of those who did not perished in the concentration camps. She
has one living survivor of Auschwitz in her family. She is married, has three lovely stepchildren
and two beautiful dogs and resides in Simpsonville, SC.
Scott Auspelmyer has been a teacher for 19 years, the last 15 of which have been at Blythewood
High School in Blythewood, SC. He teaches Advanced Placement European History, Advanced
Placement Seminar and Research, World History, and an Advanced Honors Seminar course on
the Holocaust. He has been involved in Holocaust education since 2003 and he is continually
inspired to teach the lessons of this event by the students that he teaches and the survivors and
families of survivors that he meets. Mr. Auspelmyer is a United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum Teaching Fellow and also a Jewish Foundation for the Righteous Lerner Fellow.
Additionally, he has attended numerous workshops and institutes related to that era, including
training held at the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Lousiana and in Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii. He resides in Columbia, SC and has a wife and two sons.
Brian Day works as an Instructional Technology Specialist in the Education Department at South
Carolina Educational Television (SCETV). He trains educators across South Carolina on
instructional technology tools, promoting SCETV resources at conferences and public events,
and creating educational support and resources for various SCETV and PBS projects.
For eleven years, Brian taught elementary and middle school for the Calhoun County School
District. During this time, he has taught math, English/Language Arts, science, and social studies
in grades three through six. For the final four years of teaching, he taught strictly fifth and sixth
grade social studies. While being a classroom teacher, he was the Social Studies curriculum
liaison for Calhoun County School District and was hired to become his school’s Instructional
Technology Coach. Throughout his teaching career, he has both participated and presented at a
variety of teacher institutes, workshops, conferences, and professional developments on the
local, state, and national level. In 2017, Brian was selected as a team leader on the writing
committee for 2020 South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards. In his
free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, attending concerts, playing the guitar,
collecting and listening to music, and cheering for Gamecock athletics.
Dr. Chris M. Turpin
Dr. Chris M. Turpin is the Education Associate for Secondary Social Studies in the
Office of Standards and Learning at the South Carolina Department of Education
Chris works to impact student learning in South Carolina through supporting
teachers, school administrators, and district leaders across the state. As a teacher,
Chris taught secondary social studies teacher for grades 6-12 in multiple content
areas in both Georgia and South Carolina. In 2017, he was also a member of the
team tasked to write the 2020 South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-
Ready Standards. Chris was honored in 2019 to become an Alfred Learner Fellow
sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. Through his work as a
teacher and an Education Associate, Chris works diligently to ensure that the
lessons from the events surrounding the Holocaust are ever present. Christopher
(Chris) M. Turpin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of
Georgia, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Piedmont College and an Educational
Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Carolina.
Joe Wachter is an attorney who lives with his Wife, Lorraine, in Myrtle Beach, SC.
He earned a degree in history and a law degree from the University of South Carolina –
and later moved to Myrtle Beach, where he was a long-time member of Temple Emanu-El,
serving as President and on its Board of Directors.
Joe was a member of The Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach for over 25 years, where he
served as President and on its Board of Directors – and where he was also named
"Rotarian of The Year". He was a founding member of the Board of Visitors for
the Edwards College of Humanities & Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University in
Conway, SC. Since 1993 he has produced, directed and promoted folk music and
other concerts in Myrtle Beach and Conway, SC – and he has also produced and
promoted concerts at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. Since 1988 he
has also been a member of the organization that owns and operates the nation's
oldest high school basketball tournament: The Beach Ball Classic.
Joe has a keen interest in history – especially the Holocaust and Jewish history in
South Carolina. As a member of his Temple and his Rotary Club in Myrtle Beach,
he helped organize, promote and sponsor educational programs on the Holocaust.