Alone in the Storm

In 1944, twenty-year-old Leslie Vertes escapes from a forced labour detail in Budapest and miraculously survives by assuming a false identity. About to taste freedom and security as the end of the war nears, his liberation is short-lived when he is caught by the new Soviet regime and sent for two years of back-breaking labour and captivity. While rebuilding his life and finding love, Leslie is once again threatened during the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and he must run for his life. Arriving in Canada with his family, Leslie finds hope again as he finally tastes true freedom.

Introduction by Christine Schmidt

At a Glance
Forced labour
Passing/false identity
Arrow Cross regime
Siege of Budapest
Postwar Soviet labour camps
Postwar Hungarian Uprising
Arrived in Canada in 1957
Adjusting to life in Canada

192 pages, including index

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Photo of Leslie Vertes

About the author

Leslie Vertes was born in Ajak, Hungary, in 1924; he immigrated to Canada with his family in 1957. In Montreal, Leslie was actively involved in Holocaust education and volunteered for numerous organizations. In 2015, he received Quebec’s YMCA Peace Medal and the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in recognition of his volunteerism and contributions to the community. Leslie Vertes passed away in 2022.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

Writing opened the lid of my box of buried memories. Looking back at my long life’s journey, I am dizzy contemplating the rough road and the distance I have travelled.