Real Name: Vicki Acs
Case: Lost Sister
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Details: Ferenc "Frank" Zoltan Acs of Ontario, Canada, is a man alone in the world. Orphaned during World War II, he has lost nearly everyone he ever loved. His incredible personal odyssey is a testament to man's resilience in the face of adversity. His heartbreaking story began decades ago in Budapest, Hungary. On May 25, 1926, Frank was born into a well-to-do family. Tragically, just twelve days after his birth, his mother contracted an infection and died. His father was left to care for an infant son and a three-year-old daughter. It was especially difficult for his father because he deeply loved and cared for her.
Frank's father was unprepared for the responsibility of raising two children by himself. His family soon came to his aid; Frank and his father went to live with Frank's grandparents, while an aunt and uncle offered to take his sister for a limited time. However, events would conspire to keep Frank and his sister apart. Although it was difficult for Frank's father to split up his children, he felt that it was the best thing to do in their situation. Frank grew up on his grandparents' estate overlooking the Danube River. He was never told that he had an older sister.
In April of 1938, Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and began to threaten his neighbors both to the East and West. Many in Europe feared of what would happen next. Meanwhile, in Budapest, the Acs family gathered to celebrate Easter. Unbeknownst to them, it would be their final time together. Among the guests were Frank's relatives from America: his aunt and uncle El and Steve Goulash, and their daughter Vicki. She was about fifteen at the time. From the moment she and Frank met, the two shared a special bond and were inseparable. Unfortunately, their friendship would be shattered by the onslaught of war.
Less than two weeks later, Vicki and her parents returned to America. Frank had to say goodbye to his cousin and best friend. By 1940, Hitler's armies had marched across Europe. Most of the continent, including Hungary, fell under German occupation. An active Hungarian underground resisted the Nazis. Frank's father joined the fight against the Gestapo, Hitler's secret police. Then, on a chilly afternoon in February, Frank was summoned from class by his grandfather. He then learned that his father had been killed by the Gestapo. At the age of fourteen, he had become an orphan.
Frank's grandparents were warned to leave Budapest immediately. Just days after Frank's father was murdered, he and his grandparents fled the country. They hoped to eventually reach America and join his aunt, uncle, and cousin Vicki. The family found haven in a refugee camp in Switzerland. Just eight weeks later, both of his grandparents died suddenly. Frank was left alone again. In the camp, he felt lost, lonely, and depressed. He remained there for three years.
After leaving the camp, Frank made his way to Italy. As a young adult, he went on to distinguish himself with the U.S. Fifth Army in Europe. Because of his ability in languages, he was instrumental in breaking Germany's secret military code. After the war, he eventually emigrated to Canada in 1953. He married and spent thirty years as a landscape designer. Tragically, in 1984, his wife was killed in an automobile accident. Once again, he was left alone. To cope with this devastating loss, he returned to Hungary to delve into his past. Searching through old war-damaged records, he made the incredible discovery that he had a sister who might still be alive.
Frank's search soon brought out a more startling revelation: his long-lost sister was, in fact, his "cousin" from America, Vicki. He has not seen her since 1938. He believes that his grandparents did not tell them that they were siblings because it would have caused problems in the family. Despite several trips to Hungary, thousands of dollars spent, and countless hours searching through government records, he has been unable to find any additional information about Vicki. Despite this, he vows to continue his search, fueled by the heartfelt memories of a sister he lost so many years ago.
The only known photograph of Vicki Acs (shown above) was given to Frank by the daughter of the Acs family chambermaid. At the time it was taken, Vicki was approximately seventeen-years-old. By 1991, she was sixty-eight. She may have adopted the surname of her aunt and uncle, El and Steve Goulash.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 6, 1991 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Frank Acs died at Meadow Park Nursing Home in Chatham, Ontario on July 8, 2017; he was ninety-two.