A Delta Airlines pilot said he was able to relate to the Afghan evacuees he transported to the US — because his Holocaust survivor father undertook a similar life-altering journey when he immigrated to America.
Alexander Kahn spoke to CNN on Friday about the “special” experience, in which he and a crew he had never met before ferried the refugees fleeing the Taliban from a US Air Base in Germany.
“I was able to put myself in their position and realize they’re starting a new life,” Kahn said. “It’s a frightening experience for them but it has the potential to be an excellent experience for them.”
The flight was especially emotional for Kahn when he considered how his dad also made a new life in America after he was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany by US troops during World War II.
“[He came to America] not much differently than the people that are coming to the United States now,” Kahn told CNN about his dad. “He was coming with the clothes on his back, no family, no English schools and had to start life over again.
“And luckily, he was able to start over again in the land of opportunity.”
Kahn said he met the crew the night before the flight from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, to transport the evacuees on the final leg of their journey to America.
The crew members purchased supplies like diapers, wipes, candy and coloring books for the children, “because we knew these evacuees were coming with no opportunity to prepare.”
The Civil Reserve Air Fleet was enacted by President Biden Sunday, adding commercial airlines to help as the US scrambles to evacuate Americans and Afghans before Aug. 31.