Pilot Who Flew Out Afghan Refugees Says He Identifies With Them as Son of a Holocaust Survivor
A Delta Airlines pilot who flew refugees out of Afghanistan told CNN on Sunday that he could identify with his passengers because of his own father’s experience as a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to the US.
Speaking to the network’s “New Day” program, Alexander Kahn said, “I’m the son of an immigrant in the United States. My father was a Holocaust survivor.”
“He was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp by Patton’s Third Army, and came to the United States not much different from the people that are coming to the United States now,” he said.
Like the Afghan refugees, Kahn said, his father “was coming with the clothes on his back, no family, no English skills, and had to start life over again. And luckily he was starting life over again in the land of opportunity.”
“I was able to put myself in their position and realize that they’re starting a new life,” he said of the refugees. “This is going to be a frightening experience for them, but it has the potential to be an excellent experience for them.”
“My father made it into the United States, learned English, put himself through school, became a doctor, and years later actually was back in West Germany as a physician for the US Army, where I became an army brat at the tail end of the Cold War,” Kahn recounted.
Were he to meet the refugees in the coming years, said Kahn, he would ask, “Have they been able to reach goals that they never dreamed possible?”
Kahn also revealed that the aircraft’s flight crew bought supplies for the refugees, including candy and balloons for the children — with their own funds — and refused to have their expenses refunded afterwards.
Watch the complete interview below:
As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Delta Airlines pilot Alexander Kahn says helping Afghans evacuate was "special."
"I was able to put myself in their position," he said. "This is going to be a frightening experience … But it has the potential to be an excellent experience." pic.twitter.com/IXwJdqYYY5
— New Day (@NewDay) August 27, 2021