Rachel Kahan was born in Ujfeherto, Hungary to Orthodox Hungarian parents. She was the second of 3 girls. Her father was a feather merchant. Rachel attended the Jewish school and then went on to learn sewing. She also helped her father in the business. They had a normal happy family life. They did not mix with the non-Jews. She felt the antisemitism around her. Life continued normally until the Germans arrived. The night after Pesach they were rounded up and taken to the ghetto in Nyiregyhaza. They were there for about 4-6 weeks and then they were transported to Auschwitz. After the selection in which her parents and younger sister went to their deaths, Rachel and her sister Chaye were sent to Plaszow near Krakow to work in a factory mending military uniforms. They were then sent back to Auschwitz and then sent onto St Georgenthal near Dresden where they worked in an aircraft factory. They were liberated by the Russian army.
They returned to their hometown but found no-one alive. Rachel was ill with TB and she entered a Sanatorium in Debrecen. Whilst there her sister got married and went to live in Gauting near Munich. She sent for Rachel and brought her to a Sanatorium there. Then her sister and her husband went to Israel. Rachel was taken to a Sanatorium in Switzerland and in 1950 a new medication for the treatment of TB was introduced. Rachel met her husband, Myer Kahan from Rumania, in the Sanatorium and they married in 1951. Bachad in Zurich arranged for them to come to England to Thackstead Hachsharah in the Spring of 1951. Myer worked with the poultry and then in the office and Rachel was in charge of the laundry. They lived there for 3 years and then Myer was offered a position as a shomer with the Manchester Beth Din. They came to live in the Bnai Akivah Bayit. Myer worked as a Mashgiach for 3 years and went to College to study Accountancy. During this time the couple took a group to Israel to see if they wanted to settle there but decided against going. They moved from the Bayit in Cavendish Road and Myer worked as a Certified Accountant.