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Survivor. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. All of these words describe the late Sady Kahn. But it was her keen instincts and her courage that defined her life.

While Sady was running a routine errand at the Nuremberg railroad station in 1935, Hitler and his entourage disembarked right in front of her. According to Jim Keir, trustee of the Sady Kahn Trust, she arrived home telling her mother “we need to get out of here.”

Sady and her husband, Ludwig, both German Jews and newlyweds, fled to Los Angeles, arriving with few belongings and an uncertain future. They worked hard to forge a new life here, establishing a thriving millinery business.

“Having no children of her own, it was Sady’s wish to do something that would benefit young people, and also, she didn’t want to be forgotten,” said Keir.

Inspired by Sady’s ethos to help students, the trust gave a $100,000 gift to the UCLA Library to refurbish the 15 group study rooms at the Charles E. Young Research Library. The rooms’ scuffed walls and outdated equipment, worn from thousands of hours of heavy use by students engaged together in discovering and advancing knowledge, have been updated with new glass dry erase boards, drywall, and a fresh coat of paint.

“There are hundreds of good causes at UCLA to give to at the moment,” said Keir, “but my wife, Lori, and I have fond memories of the Library and recognize how central it is to students’ experience at UCLA. Library spaces are so heavily used, this was a real opportunity to benefit a huge number of students.”

For the Keirs, the gift to the Library was also personal: it was “a fitting way to thank UCLA for all it has done for us and our family. We want the Library to be the best university library in the world.”

Jim and Lori, both UCLA alumni, had their first date after meeting on the Powell Library steps as students. Their two daughters and two granddaughters are also Bruins, marking three generations of UCLA graduates.

One of the group study rooms will be named in honor of Sady Kahn, recognizing her gift and her remarkable legacy.

If you’re interested in making a legacy gift or naming a space in the UCLA Library, please contact Stephanie Kimura at (310) 206-8551.