Ilse and Abner Delman

Keeping Memories Alive

Worried about conjuring bad memories, Ilse Delman was initially reluctant to share her story with USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education. But after meeting with Institute staff, encouraged by her friend Anita Mayer, who had contributed her own testimony, and supported by her husband, Abner Delman, M.D., she shared her memories. A decade later, she remains grateful that her story will live on through the archive.

The Delmans, who have been married for 41 years, became dedicated supporters after first learning about the Institute’s work. The couple is committed to ensuring the Institute continues to thrive for generations to come. That’s why they have included a major gift in their estate — a planned gift honoring the memory of Ilse’s parents, Ernest and Erna Nathan.

The Nathans, including then 6-year-old Ilse, were forced from their hometown of Frankfurt, Germany, and fled to Tilburg, in the Netherlands in 1933. When WW II started, with the German invasion of the Netherlands, Ilse and her parents were forced to go into hiding, they stayed for a year with a Dutch family before having to go deeper into hiding — living in the upper portion of a barn for 18 months, supplied with food by a German business associate of Ernest Nathan. In 1946, with the war over, the family moved to the United States.

“Increasingly, as the years go by, certain segments of the population virtually deny that the Holocaust ever occurred,” says Abner Delman. “Besides combating different types of discrimination all over the world, the foundation provides education, and documents and records these experiences to help to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. This work is a very worthwhile thing to help sustain, and that’s why we decided to make a planned gift.”

In doing so, the Delmans will leave their own legacy while helping secure the Institute’s future.