Felix Kahn

by | Oct 20, 2014 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach —Felix Kahn, 98, a resident of The Terrace at Beth Sholom Village, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

Felix was born in Somborn, Germany on March 13, 1916. By 1937, he was forced to emigrate to the United States following his oldest brother Gustav, while his other brother, Leo emigrated to South Africa, leaving behind their parents, Lara and Ferdinand, and extended family, all of whom perished in the Holocaust.

Felix settled in New York City, where he took any available job to make ends meet. When the United States entered WW II , he enlisted in the Army, where his familiarity with numerous German dialects was discovered so he spent his entire service at the Pentagon, serving as a translator, often for top-secret documents. Although offered a commission at the end of the War to entice him to serve on as a translator at the Nuremberg War Trials, he declined and returned to civilian life.

Shortly thereafter, two major events occurred which were to affect him for the rest of his life—he met the love of his life, Pepi, and they were married on Sept. 18, 1948, and he entered the textile business. Throughout his life in the textile business as a ‘rag peddler,’ he always referred to himself as a salesman, despite owning the company. His sales efforts required him to travel extensively in the United States, to large cities and towns too small to find on a map. He managed to make friends with customers through all of his travels and always seemed to know someone in any given area. With his determination to succeed, his “gift of gab,” and willingness to adapt to changing tastes and times, the business continued to grow and prosper until his retirement in 1981.

With retirement, Felix and Pepi had the opportunity to travel which they enjoyed tremendously—whether for long stays in Palm Springs, Hawaii, England or Switzerland—they always returned with a smile and many stories to share.

Felix and Pepi moved to Virginia Beach, where Pepi passed away in 2002. Despite losing the sun around which his world revolved for 53 years, Felix continued to enjoy life, spending time with his grandchildren, walking and biking along the beach. Only the effects of time were able to slow him down.

He is survived by his children, Ellen and her husband, Francis Piderit, and Stewart and his wife, Eileen Kahn, and his beloved grandchildren, Michael Piderit and Andrew, Steven and Laura Kahn.

The family expresses gratitude to the entire staff of The Terrace for the care, comfort and loving attention they gave to Felix for his 10-year residence at The Terrace.

Burial was conducted by Rabbi Michael Panitz and Cantor Elihu Flax at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Contributions to Beth Sholom Village, Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care, Temple Israel, the Alzheimer’s Association or the charity of one’s choice. Altmeyer Funeral Home.