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A Tapestry of Survival

Twelve-year-old Leslie Mezei, a lively, curious boy, doesn’t realize how precarious his life is as a Jew in German-occupied Hungary in 1944. His older sister Magda, aware of the growing danger from Nazis and Hungarian fascists, takes charge and bravely tries to direct the family’s survival, while his sister Klari, tough and determined, faces a brutal ordeal of her own. Confronting deportation, concentration camps and the constant threat of capture, the Mezei siblings carefully navigate the treacherous landscape of wartime Hungary. After the war, the family reunites briefly before setting out in different directions to start new lives, and in Montreal, Leslie meets his wife, Annie, who has a survival story of her own. In A Tapestry of Survival the voices of Leslie, Magda, Klari and Annie are woven together to reveal a larger tale of courage, resilience and the search for healing.

Introduction by Borbala Klacsmann

At a Glance
Hungary; Poland
Passing/false identity
Arrow Cross regime
Siege of Budapest
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Forced labour camp
Postwar Germany, displaced persons camp
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Adjusting to life in Canada
Educational materials available: Leslie Mezei Activity

192 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Leslie Mezei

About the author

Leslie Mezei was born in 1931, in Gödöllő, Hungary. In 1948 Leslie arrived in Canada, where he eventually became a professor at the University of Toronto. An early pioneer in the field of computer art, Leslie also developed two new graphic programming languages. Leslie lives in Toronto, where he is very involved in an interfaith and interspiritual movement.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

There were many close calls, and I think it took quick thinking and miraculous escapes to survive those times, as well as a strong will to live.