HOF083: Nguyen Van Nghia

An artillery commander, Nguyen Van Nghia was one of the last in his division to put down his arms when South Vietnam fell on April 30, 1975. Sent to a re-education camp where he endured hard labour and had been brainwashed for three years, Nguyen was determined to leave the country as soon as he could. After two failed attempts, Nguyen managed to reach Malaysia in 1979, in a boat carrying 400 refugees.

He decided to settle in Germany, where he had once planned to study. But after meeting his future wife in Toronto, Nguyen was eventually granted asylum to Canada. There, he put his newly acquired German language skills to use, working for German and Swiss companies, all the while developing another career as a Vietnamese-language writer.