Under the Yellow & Red Stars

Under the Yellow & Red Stars is a remarkable story of survival, coming of age and homecoming after years as a stranger in a strange land. Alex Levin was only ten years old when he ran deep into the forest after the Germans invaded his hometown of Rokitno. He emerged from hiding eighteen months later to find that he had neither parents nor a community to return to. A harrowing tale of escape, endurance and exceptional emotional resilience, Levin’s story also draws us into his later life as an officer and eventual outcast in the USSR and as an immigrant who successfully builds a new life in Canada. This poetically written memoir is imbued with loss and pain, but also with the optimistic spirit of a boy determined to survive against all odds.

Introduction by Naomi Azrieli and Sara Horowitz

At a Glance
Escaped mass shooting
Postwar Soviet Union
Life under Communism
Arrived in Canada in 1974

208 pages, including index

2010 Pearson Prize Teen Choice Award

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Alex Levin

About the author

Alex Levin was born in 1932 in Rokitno, Poland (now Ukraine). After the war, he was sent to the USSR and enrolled in cadet school, remaining in the Soviet army until forced out for being Jewish. Alex came to Canada in 1975 and settled in Toronto, where he spoke to many students about his experiences in the Holocaust. Alex Levin passed away in 2016.

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I feel my brother’s hand, trembling but strong, grab onto mine. I hear his words, urging me to run, take hold of my body and move my legs. We run, his hand holding mine … to me it feels like freedom.