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    Anne Frank Award recipients announced

    The Anne Frank Center at the University of South Carolina, official United States partner to the Anne Frank House, has announced the five recipients of the inaugural Anne Frank Awards.

    These national awards were established to honor individuals involved in Anne Frank Center programs who demonstrate outstanding commitment to advancing Holocaust education. One award will be given to a student, educator, artist, and for lifetime achievement.

    Join us at the awards ceremony and soiree on Thursday, February 29th, 2024, when the Anne Frank Center will honor these remarkable, first-ever awardees.

    Meet the Awardees

    Noah Emmerich, lifetime achievement in the arts

    Noah Emmerich headshot

    American actor and director Noah Emmerich has had an illustrious career, known for his roles in films such as Beautiful GirlsThe Truman Show, and Super 8. From 2013 to 2018, he starred as FBI agent Stan Beeman on the FX series The Americans.

    More recently, Emmerich decided to star in a film that illuminates the broader world of Anne Frank’s Amsterdam, The Ice Cream ManFor Emmerich, the connection is personal. His aunt attended the same class as Anne Frank, and his paternal grandparents, Hugo and Lily Emmerich, were Holocaust refugees. Participating in the film reflects his deep commitment to sharing these stories.

    "A star of Noah’s caliber doesn’t need to take roles like this," says Rob Moniot, director of The Ice Cream Man. "He took it out of personal commitment to share this story and to illuminate the larger context that claimed the lives of Anne Frank and so many others.”

    Dr. Lilly Filler, lifetime achievement award

    Headshot of Dr. Lilly Stern Filler

    Dr. Lilly Stern Filler was born in Munich, Germany, and immigrated to Columbia, South Carolina in 1949 with her parents, Holocaust survivors, Jadzia and Ben Stern, obm. Filler received her undergraduate degree in physical therapy from the University of Wisconsin, furthering her education with a master’s degree in physical therapy at Northeastern University. She returned to Columbia after the birth of her first child to start the Columbia Rehabilitation Clinic with her husband.

    After having her third child, Filler pursued additional training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, opening Women Physicians Associates in 1992. Since retiring from her practice in 2014, she has been actively involved in Holocaust education, holding leadership positions at her synagogue, the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation. The governor appointed her to the SC Council of the Holocaust in 2010, and she has served as chair since 2017. She has also served on the International Board of the Association of Holocaust Organizations since 2019.

    Filler is committed to ensuring that the history and lessons of the Holocaust are remembered by the coming generations. She has edited the Holocaust Remembered paper since 2014, and she continues to prioritize education by speaking to interested groups and advancing the goals of the several Jewish organizations of which she is an active member.

    Mary Burkett, artist award

    Headshot of Mary Burkett

    Mary Burkett is a wife, mother and grandmother who, despite having no formal artistic training, has been creating artistic memorials since 2017 to honor children whose lives were cut short by hatred and discrimination.

    In January 2017, she began her living memorial to the children killed in the Holocaust, creating a collection featuring 27 portraits. Later that year, she created Beloved: Legacy of Slavery and Beloved: Restoration as a tribute to both enslaved and free children impacted by slavery and racism in the second half of 19th century America.

    She went on to create a collection of portraits from the Warsaw Ghetto and is currently working on a collection of 150 portraits, Beloved: 10,000, each of which will represent 10,000 of the children killed during the Holocaust. In collaboration with the Anne Frank Center, she is creating a traveling exhibit, In the Land of Wooden Shoes: A Holocaust Remembrance. Her work is seen by millions annually and was featured in an internationally distributed documentary, Beloved Children of the Holocaust.

    Chandler Lawton, student award

    Headshot of Chandler Lawton

    Chandler Lawton is a senior at Spring Valley High School, where she serves as student body president. She is actively involved in several academic and service groups including the National Honors Society, Red Cross Club, Save the Children Action Network and Future Business Leaders of America. At the state level, she serves as the 2023-2024 state president of the South Carolina Association of Student Councils.

    In seventh grade, Lawton began her work with the Anne Frank Center as a tour guide for a traveling exhibit at her middle school. Since then, she has attended numerous events and workshops hosted by the Center.

    Megan Helberg, educator award

    Headshot of Megan Helberg.

    Megan Helberg is an 8th-12th grade English teacher at Loup County Public School in rural Taylor, Nebraska. She is passionate about travel and experiential learning, and she has pursued Holocaust and genocide education through various outlets: visiting Holocaust-related sites in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, as well as spending time researching the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She was named the 2020 Nebraska Teacher of the Year as well as a Museum Teacher Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016.

    Coming from a small town, Helberg recognized the lack of Holocaust education in Taylor, population 190, and worked to bring a travel club to both her school and community. In 2018, she became involved with the Anne Frank Center and has since brought the traveling exhibit and student training to her school.  She traveled to Israel in summer 2023 to study at Yad Vashem and has continued to bring her international experiences back to her classroom in Taylor.

    “Just because we are in a rural area does not mean we are any less eager to learn. We simply need opportunities,” says Helberg. “I can bring the opportunities to my students and community.”

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