Alex Levin was born to a Jewish family in Rokitno, Poland. He was 10 years old when the Nazis invaded his hometown in World War II and he ran deep into the forest to escape. Two years later, he emerged from hiding to find that his parents were dead and his community devastated. After the war, he was sent to the USSR, where he was enrolled in army cadet school. He served in the Soviet Army until being forced out. In 1975, he was able to emigrate to Canada and settled in Toronto. His autobiography Under the Yellow and Red Stars was published in 2009 as part of The Azrieli Foundation Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs.