Peggy Parnass was born in Hamburg of a love affair between her mother, Herta Emanuel, who was half-Portuguese, and Simon Parnass, a Polish Jew. Her early childhood was marred by poverty and persecution under the Nazi regime. Both of her parents were deported to the Warsaw Ghetto and died in the Treblinka concentration camp. Peggy and her brother were sent on a life-saving kindertransport to Stockholm, Sweden, where they lived with a dozen different foster families. Eventually they reached an uncle in London. Peggy attended schools in Stockholm and London and universities in Hamburg and Paris, studying Russian, law, and psychology, especially Gestalt therapy. She acquired Swedish citizenship and gave birth to son in Sweden in 1949. She earned a living through her language skills as a teacher, translator, and interpreter. She also worked as an actor in film and television. Peggy Parnass has combined her private and public lives in her writing, whether it be on her childhood exile in Sweden, women's issues, or political matters. From 1970 to 1978, she worked as a reporter in the Berlin law courts, reporting on the trials of Nazi war criminals, political cases, violent crimes, and sexual offenses, as well as less sensational cases. Her articles formed the basis of her first book Prozesse (Trials, 1978), which was acclaimed by critics. In 1979, she received the Joseph Drexel Prize for “outstanding achievements in journalism” and in 1980 the Fritz Bauer Award of the Humanist Union. In 1982, Peggy Parnass and her colleague Axel Engsfeldt won the Bundesfilm Award for their film, "Von Richtern und anderen Sympathisanten" ("On Judges and Other Sympathizers"). More of her articles, many of them autobiographical, have been collected and published in magazines or in anthologies. She focused on her Jewish identity in Mut und Leidenschaft (Courage and Passion, 1993). In 1998, the city of Hamburg awarded her its Biermann-Rathjen Medal.