Jewish American Heritage Month: 89-year-old Demarest woman talks fleeing Nazi Germany

At just 5 years old, Peggy Kabakow left with her family as they sailed to New York on the U.S.S. Washington and started a new life in West New York.

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2023, 2:55 AM

Updated 389 days ago

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In honor of National Jewish American Heritage Month, News 12’s Brian Donohue spoke to an 89-year-old Demarest woman about her experience fleeing Nazi Germany with her family.
During the 1930’s, Peggy Kabakow was a young girl living with her Jewish family in Germany. Her father, who had lost a leg fighting for the German army in World War I, was being spared by the Nazis for his heroism.
“He was under house arrest. He wasn't dragged off to wherever they took people who then wound up in concentration camps,” she said. “If he hadn't lost a leg, he would have been dragged off with the other Jewish men at Kristallnacht."
However, her family soon realized it was too dangerous to remain in the county. At just 5 years old, Kabakow left with her family as they sailed to New York on the U.S.S. Washington and started a new life in West New York.
Kabakow went on to live a life helping others through the National Council of Jewish Women's Bergen County Section, where she volunteers to help domestic violence victims and children in court care.
As she looks back on history, she says she is reminded of how lucky her family was to escape.
“To this day I cannot go to a holocaust museum,” she said. “I can't deal with it because I see pictures of little kids I think, that could have been me. I was so lucky. My family was so lucky.”


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