Dr. Abner Delman, 93, Husband of Survivor, Supported Holocaust Education

Mon, 06/03/2024 - 12:35pm

The USC Shoah Foundation mourns the passing of Dr. Abner Delman, a cardiologist and longtime supporter of the USC Shoah Foundation. He was 93.

Abner's wife, Ilse-Lore Delman, was a Holocaust survivor who fled her hometown to escape Nazi persecution at a young age. She spent three years in hiding. In 1998, Ilse recorded her testimony with the USC Shoah Foundation, and soon after, the couple became involved with the organization.

“I think it’s very important that this be recorded,” Abner said in remarks recorded at the end of his wife’s testimony. “It’s important to do this for posterity, that what occurred in the Holocaust has a face, and real people be interviewed so that people in the future can see that this really did occur and how it affected and impacted people.” 

Abner was born in 1930 and graduated from the Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, in 1955. He spent decades working as a cardiologist in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Sarasota, Florida. He was an avid art collector, a lover of chocolate, and a gentle and kind person who gave thoughtfully and generously.

Abner and Ilse were married for 45 years, and she had one son from a previous marriage.

After Ilse died in 2018, Abner established the Dr. Abner J. and Ilse Delman Fund in memory of Ilse and her parents, Ernest and Erna Nathan.

“We were very impressed with the work being done at the Institute and felt that our gift would help preserve the memory of her parents for eternity,” Abner said at the time.

The fund established an endowment to support the Institute’s education, research, and collections programs, ensuring that more stories like Ilse’s can be gathered, contextualized, and shared with the world.

Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1926, Ilse lived in an upper-middle-class neighborhood until she was forced out of school at the age of six for being Jewish, she said in her testimony. In 1933, as the threat of the Nazi movement in Germany loomed, her family abruptly fled to the Netherlands, leaving all their possessions behind. 

After the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, Ilse's family was forced into hiding. They found refuge with a Dutch family for a year and then spent 18 months in a converted hay loft. They managed to survive thanks to the assistance of a German colleague of Ilse’s father, who risked his life to provide the family with food, water, and other necessities.

After the war, Ilse and her parents moved to the United States. 

In setting up the Dr. Abner J. and Ilse Delman Fund after Ilse passed, Abner said he hoped Ilse’s memory could teach that even in the face of unimaginable hardship, people can emerge to lead dynamic, meaningful lives. 

Abner Delman is survived by Ilse’s son, Robert Wertheimer.

Donations in Abner’s memory can be made to the Dr. Abner J. and Ilse Delman Fund at the USC Shoah Foundation.

Laya Albert
Laya Albert, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is a journalism student at USC's Annenberg School and an active contributor to Annenberg Media. She is the Celina Biniaz Student Intern at the USC Shoah Foundation.