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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

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Sandor Teszler: Behind The Name

Sandor+Teszler+Library+has+stood+on+Wofford%E2%80%99s+campus+as+its+established+library+since+1969.
Sandor Teszler Library has stood on Wofford’s campus as its established library since 1969.

The surprising history behind an often-overlooked campus name

Sandor Teszler is a name mentioned often by students and faculty on Wofford’s campus. Yet, many are unaware of the extraordinary life of Sandor Teszler Library’s namesake.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1903, Teszler grew up with a fascination for knowledge. Due to antisemitism, the aspiring scholar was unable to attend university in Hungary. Instead, he was able to enroll in a university in Germany, where he studied textile engineering and commercial business. Soon after, Teszler and his brother founded a textile business of their own in Croatia, which became a successful venture.

Following the submission of Hungary to communist rule in 1919, Teszler faced many antisemitic challenges for being Jewish. From his teenage years to middle-age, Teszler dealt with these difficulties, but the hardships increased dramatically for Teszler and his family under Nazi rule beginning in 1941. Despite this, Teszler continued to grow his business, making it the most successful textile company in Hungary.

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The respect for Teszler’s company that had grown in his country helped keep him out of physical and political harm for much of World War II, but in 1944, Teszler, along with his family, were arrested by Nazis and sent to a “death house.” At the death house, the Teszlers went through inhumane treatment, such as beatings, marches and deprivation.

Despite liberation by the Russians in 1945, Teszler subsequently became a prisoner of war by the Russians. Not long after, he managed to escape and eventually was able to get to America in 1948.

Through his intelligence and ingenuity, Teszler took his textile manufacturing success to New York. Teszler eventually sold the plant in 1961 and moved to Spartanburg to start a new plant that took only two years to become successful. Because of his own past experienced discrimination, he was careful to integrate despite the segregation norm at the time.

His son Andrew, as a member of the Board of Trustees at Wofford, donated money for a new library in honor of his father in 1969.

Teszler himself became involved on Wofford’s campus soon after, again showing his unwavering desire to gain knowledge. Teszler audited over 50 classes over in the 70’s and 80’s.

Nearing the end of his life, Teszler stated, “Every day I go to the library for two or three hours and I see my dear friend, Mr. Coburn, who is head of the library now. And he does everything to help me to get the books that I need and want to read.”

Teszler left his mark on both students and faculty during his time at Wofford. Dr. David Tyner, adjunct instructor of international affairs and government, recalled his fondness for Teszler.

“He relished the opportunity to read and explore new things, and he loved talking about ideas in class,” Tyner said of Teszler.

Tyner also commented on Teszler’s unparalleled passion for learning, adding “Mr. Teszler was an inspiration to all of us who believe that a liberal arts education is the foundation for a lifetime of learning.”

Teszler was a man that defied the odds and built a successful enterprise, making lifelong friendships along the way and always seeking more knowledge. His impact will continue to be honored on Wofford’s campus and will be a name that will not soon be forgotten Sandor Teszler.

For a first-hand account of Teszler, visit Wofford.edu for his life memoir that includes more fascinating details.

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