Peter Lantos was born in 1939 in Makó, a small provincial town in the south-eastern corner of Hungary. In the summer of 1944 he was deported with his parents to the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in Germany where his father died of starvation. Later, his school years at the local high school were dramatically interrupted by the revolution of October 1956. His plan to study medicine was first frustrated by the authorities: he was on the blacklist of the Communist system. After graduating from medicine, he was fortunate to be awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship, and had a medicinal career in England for 34 years leading to his election to the Academy of Medical Sciences.