In memory of
Lilliane Shuman Palm Springs - Lilliane Shuman, a 40-year full-time resident of Palm Springs, passed away on March 30, 2019, at the age of 89. Lilliane's life story was remarkable. Lilliane was born in Antwerp, Belgium on March 16, 1930. Her father, Abraham, was a diamond setter and her mother, Felice, a homemaker. Her parents had previously immigrated to Belgium separately from Poland and married in 1929. After Lilliane's birth, they were soon joined by her sister, Laura, who was born in 1933. With two of Abraham's brothers living in Antwerp at the time, Lilliane was surrounded by aunts, uncles, and many cousins. Her first languages were French and Yiddish. Her father was a character, her mother was pure warmth, and her younger sister a handful. When Germany invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940, Lilliane was 10 years old and believed that the German bombs falling in the distance were fireworks. Taking only those valuables they could carry, the family escaped to unoccupied France. At the coast, Lilliane's father boarded a ship destined for America with a plan to secure passage for his family. His plan was not successful. As the war erupted in Europe, passage to the United States was limited. Lilliane, her mother and her sister spent nearly a year in France seeking safety. At one point, they were dangerously smuggled back into Antwerp and then occupied Poland, for one final visit with family. Thereafter, extended family members in Belgium scattered or perished in concentration camps. No relatives escaped with their lives from Poland. In 1942, Lilliane, her mother and her younger sister arrived in Marseille seeking passage out of Europe. They boarded the SS Serpa Pinta, and via Lisbon and Casablanca, they eventually arrived in Havana, Cuba. Lilliane spent the next four years in Havana with other Jewish refugees. She loved Cuba. She loved the people, the dance, the warmth, the sunshine, and the beaches. As a result, Lilliane thereafter possessed a lifelong love affair with the sun and the beach. In Cuba, her mother found work with exiled Jewish diamond cutters while Lilliane and her sister attended school. While there, she became fluent in her third language, Spanish. As a result of Lilliane's time in Cuba, she was recently featured in the documentary film: Cuba's Forgotten Jewels, A Haven in Havana. Her unique Holocaust survival story was also recorded by the Shoah Foundation, as a witness to history, the Jewish diaspora, and the Nazi atrocities. While in Cuba, Lilliane's father was in New York City working underground in the diamond industry while evading immigration officials. By happenstance, through a friend he came across an article in Look Magazine about Jewish refugees in Cuba that featured a photo of his daughter with her friends. In 1945, with the war over, Lilliane's family was reunited in New York. Lilliane attended high school in New York City, learning fluent English, her fourth language. She attended Julia Richmond High School and Hunter College. In 1948, while on a blind date, Lilliane met Nathan Shuman, fresh from the army and attending City College of New York. They married in 1950. Lilliane soon gave birth to a daughter and son. Seeking a new life once again, Lilliane moved her family to Southern California in 1958, settling in Orange County where a third child was born. Highlights of her Orange County years were sunny summer days at Huntington Beach under a polka dot umbrella playing Scrabble with her best friend, Carolyn. Lilliane managed a lady's retail dress store while raising her family. Lilliane and Nathan travelled to Europe and Mexico. Europe to see relatives and travel and Mexico for beach time. Lilliane began visiting her beloved Palm Springs in the early 1960s. In 1978, Lilliane and Nathan moved permanently to Palm Springs, thus beginning some of Lilliane's happiest years. She worked as a manager at I. Magnin and Saks Fifth Avenue. Lilliane always dressed to the nines. Her children, and eventually her grandchildren, grew to love Palm Springs like her. After retirement, Lilliane stayed active. In 1997, she obtained her bachelor's degree at age 67 from the University of California San Bernardino. Lilliane was very active in the World Affairs Council of the Desert, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the American Association of University Women. As remarkable as Lilliane's life story was, her impact on her family and those lucky enough to call her a friend were her greatest achievements. Lilliane adored her family and friends. She was warm, affectionate and interested in other persons' lives. She had a big presence, was direct and knew what she wanted. She was always there when her family and friends had pain or just needed a person to talk to. She laughed a lot, talked a lot and gave a lot of kisses and hugs. Children were her specialty, especially her grandchildren. We loved her very much and thank her for being ours. Lilliane is survived by her husband of 69 years, Nathan Shuman, her daughter Karen, sons Kin (Emily) and Kip (Maria) along with four grandchildren (Nicole, Alyssa, Ryan and Alaina) and one step-granddaughter (Malia), her niece Fabrienne and her two children (Billy and Austin). Lilliane was predeceased by her daughter- in-law Ann (Kin) and their son Alex. She is also survived by many, many friends in Palm Springs and abroad. A Celebration of Life is being planned for the near future.
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