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Zelma D. Abarbanel collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 02.07.0119

Content Description

This collection refers to Zelma D. Abarbanel, who served as a Technician Fourth Grade with the WAC Second Detachment during World War II. Abarbanel worked as a stenographer and assistant for the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the Office of Weapons. The collection includes a transcript of an oral history interview, one letter, the military records of both Abarbanel and her husband, Milton Goldman Abarbanel, and several photographs depicting Abarbanel's life as a WAC.


  • Creation: 1943-1945


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast works from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience must be requested and granted in writing by the director of the Institute. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Institute on World War II as the owner of the physical items and the copyright holder. Possession of a copy of an item does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast it. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. Permission fees must be paid before images are provided. Please contact the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience for current publication and duplication rates.

Birth and Death Dates

Zelma D. Abarbanel was born on October 19, 1916, in New Haven, Connecticut. Abarbanel grew up in New Jersey, the oldest of three children. Abarbanel completed high school and business school before enlisting. She was twenty-six years old when she enlisted in the WAAC 1943, much to her parents' consternation. Abarbanel decided to enlist because of her patriotism, and in part because her Jewish heritage gave her a personal stake in the war in Europe.

Abarbanel completed Basic Training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa in February 1943, and was next stationed in Memphis, Tennessee for a year. While there, the WAAC became the WAC, and during the transition, the women were given the chance to go home rather than reenlist. Abarbanel decided to stay, and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, where she would be stationed for the remainder of the war. Trained as a stenographer, Abarbanel worked as a colonel's assistant at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, in the Office of Weapons. During her three years at Fort Benning, Abarbanel made many close friends, and would also meet her husband, Milton Goldman Abarbanel. Although it was frowned upon for enlisted personnel and officers to socialize, the Abarbanels married in 1945. To Zelma Abarbanel's disappointment, Milton was transferred from Fort Benning after they married, and she traveled to Atlanta often to meet him until she was discharged from the army in December 1945. After the war, Abarbanel and her husband lived in New Jersey, and later moved to Florida. Zelma D. Abarbanel died March 3, 2010, in Tallahassee, FL. She recieved decorations for the American Theater, a Good Conduct Medal, and a Victory Medal.


1 folders (1 Folder)

1 items (1 pair of WAC boots, stored in artifact Box 36)

Zelma D. Abarbanel collection 02.07.0119
Mallory McGovern
October 4, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience Repository

Tallahassee FL 32306 US