Samuel Flumenbaum exemplified the classic American immigrant experience. As with many others, when he came to the United States with his wife and son in 1961, he was starting a new life. And thanks to his hard work, enterprising spirit, and devotion to his family, three generations of Flumenbaums have flourished here. Mr. Flumenbaum was born in Kozienice, Poland, a small rural town where, like most everyone in his community, his formal education didn't go beyond the eighth grade. As a teenager in his native Poland, Mr. Flumenbaum's life was catastrophically interrupted by the horrors of World War II. Having emerged as a survivor of Buchenwald, he met his wife, Frances, also a survivor, and after their marriage they worked toward their dream of coming to America. After two years in Newark, New Jersey, the Flumenbaums moved to Los Angeles, where Mr. Flumenbaum flourished as a small businessman.
Mr. Flumenbaum's Jewish faith was a defining element of his character, and he was deeply interested in all aspects of Jewish life, traditions, and culture. Though he achieved tremendous entrepreneurial success without a college, or even a high-school, degree, he cherished education above all else and held books and study in awe, especially books that preserve the cultural heritage of the Jewish people. Combining his father's reverence for his faith, respect for education, and fondness for UCLA, it seemed very fitting for William Flumenbaum and his wife, Patricia, to honor the elder Mr. Flumenbaum's life by establishing The Samuel Flumenbaum Endowed Collection in Jewish Studies. The endowment allows the Charles E. Young Research Library to acquire, preserve, and make accessible a broad range of important materials in history, literature, and politics of Jews throughout the Diaspora.