Peter Engelmann is the son of Ilse Hollmann and Konrad Engelmann. Peter was born in Berlin on February 22, 1924. His father Konrad, though born a Jew, converted to Lutheranism in 1918 while recovering from a war injury in Istanbul. After returning to Germany, he became one of the directors of the German central bank in Berlin and married a German woman he had met while playing chamber music. Shortly after Hitler's rise to power, Konrad was fired from his position because of his Jewish origins. He then trained to become an accountant. Though Peter was christened shortly after his birth and had only partial Jewish ancestry, he also suffered discrimination. Schoolmates beat him up after he was identified as a Mischling during a class-wide racial survey. After this episode, his parents removed him from the school. In 1936 Konrad was offered an appointment as economic advisor to the Turkish government. By now anxious to leave Nazi Germany, he accepted the post and moved his family to Turkey. For the next four years Konrad worked for the Turkish maritime bank. The Engelmanns socialized with other German émigrés, attended the German Lutheran Church and enrolled Peter in the local German school. Appalled by the news of Kristallnacht, Ilse and Konrad decided they would never return to Germany. They removed Peter from the German school and enrolled him in an English speaking school to prepare for their eventual immigration to the United States. The following year Peter was admitted to Robert College, the American school in Istanbul. In 1942 Peter became engaged to Erika Hellmann, another German Jewish émigré to Turkey. However, the next year Erika had to move with her family to Haifa. Shortly after the war, Peter immigrated to the United States. His parents followed him a year later. Erika was finally able to join him in 1947, and they were married shortly afterward.