RIP Leon Leyson, youngest survivor on Schindler’s List

The Los Angeles Times notes his passing:

Among the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler was an emaciated 13-year-old boy named Leon Leyson, who had to stand on a box to reach the machinery in the Krakow factory where Schindler sheltered him and his family.

The boy Schindler called “Little Leyson” survived the Holocaust to start life over in Los Angeles. He taught high school in Huntington Park for 39 years, rarely mentioning to anyone the pain and perils he experienced during the war that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews.

Then came the celebrated 1993 movie “Schindler’s List,” which ignited public interest in the stories of Holocaust survivors. Coaxed into breaking five decades of near-silence on the subject, Leyson — the youngest member of the group rescued by Schindler — embarked on a public speaking career that took him across the United States and Canada to share his story about coming of age during the Nazis’ brutal reign.

“Any time he told his story he never used notes, he never gave the same talk twice. It always came from the head and the heart,” said his friend and Chapman University religious studies professor Marilyn Harran. “It made people walk away wanting to be better people, to care more, to remember not only the Holocaust but to remember that we can never be indifferent.”

Leyson, a longtime resident of Fullerton, died Saturday in Whittier after a four-year battle with lymphoma, his daughter Stacy Wilfong said. He was 83.

Read more. 

Missing from the Times story:  how many of the original survivors are still alive.  Anybody know?

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  1. [...] Oskar Schindler was an emaciated 13-year-old boy named Leon Leyson, who had to stand Source: The Deacons Bench by Deacon Greg Kandra   Category: Blogs and [...]


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