Brothers Who Are Pandemic Bookends

Philip Kahn, pictured on his 100th birthday with his grandson, Warren Zysman, and great-grandson (Warren Zysman)

One Hundred Years After Influenza Killed His Twin Brother, WWII Veteran Dies of COVID-19

by Alex Fox/

New Yorker and 100-year-old World War II veteran Philip Kahn died of COVID-19 on April 17, just over a century after his twin brother, Samuel, succumbed to the 1918 influenza pandemic, reports Carolyn Gusoff for CBS New York.

“My grandfather Phil and his brother were pandemic bookends,” grandson Warren Zysman tells Natalie O’Neill of the New York Post. “He knew the devastation of the first one—and he told me, ‘Warren, my boy, history repeats itself.’”

Samuel died just weeks after the brothers’ birth on December 15, 1919, according to the New York Times’ Katharine Q. Seelye. The twins’ father, a European immigrant, ran a bakery on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“He really didn’t know his twin brother, but it was something that really weighed very heavily on him psychologically—he held this void, this twin brother he never got to experience growing up with,” Zysman tells Megan Flynn of the Washington Post.

The 1918 influenza pandemic—which, despite its name, lasted from January 1918 to December 1920—claimed the lives of an estimated 50 million people worldwide, with roughly 675,000 succumbing to the illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Comparatively, COVID-19 has killed more than 50,000 people….read more:

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