Skip to comments.Leon Leyson dies at 83; youngest survivor on Schindler's List
Posted on 01/14/2013 12:27:33 PM PST by Responsibility2nd
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
“The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust. I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom,” Leon Leyson said. (Los Angeles Times / January 13, 2013)
Enjoy it while they have it......Obama's on the thrown!
Baruch dayan ha’emet
Thrown or throne? Dis I miss a joke or something?
Thrown or throne? Did I miss a joke or something?
Oh, A hall monitor
“I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom”
In California? Could have given them twice as much freedom in Texas.
actually..Americans allowed you to give your children a legacy of freedom. first by liberating you and next by providing a free country for you to raise them in. all made possible by soldiers and their supporters.
CommonSense57 at 3:23 AM January 14, 2013
Without trying to diminsh the work of Mr. Schindler, I wanted to point out that my grandfather hated the Nazis in annexed Austria and he saved about 11,000 teachers working for the Vienna school district, the majority of whom were Jewish. He could see the Gestapo advancing from the Houses of Parliament towards the school district building (which was nextdoors to the parliament at that time) and he hid the list of teachers' names, addresses, etc. on himself. The Nazis ransacked the offices of the schoold district, but because my grandfather was just a lowly clerk, they never thought of searching him personally. When after the end of the war people returned to their jobs and they wondered how the teachers were all saved from the Nazis, my grandfather simply returned the list of teachers to the schoolboard president and went about his job. He was awarded some gold cross from the City of Vienna. He saved thousands more than Mr. Schindler (not that it is a competition) and Mr. Spielberg never made a movie about him! Of course, my grandfather was a modest man and would not have wanted it, I just feel that he deserves a place in history, too.
CommonSense57 at 9:35 AM January 14, 2013
Thank you for your kind words. His name was Leopold Mayer and he died more than 31 years ago. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him, because he taught me many things, including human kindness, the type that is all too often lacking in today's world. I am not asking for a "Mayer's List" etc., but his life is definitely worth remembering, if only by me. He was subsequent to this event drafted into the German army and sent to Stalingrad. One night he was separated from the rest of his unit and with bombs bursting everywhere, he took refuge in a dilapidated basement. He came across a Russian soldier, who was younger, hungrier and more scared than he. But my grandfather put down his gun, took out his little pocket-knife and the last piece of sausage he had on him and he shared it with the visibly surprised Soviet soldier. After having finished it, he smiled at the young man, who smiled back and thanked him for his kindness. Both went their ways and they never saw each other again. If the Nazis had found out about what my grandfather did, they would have shot him right there and then. My grandfather's kindness was rewarded by him getting shot (but not killed) and so he was sent on one of the last trains which made it out of Stalingrad before all hell broke loose and he recovered. As I said, I learned about human kindness and about the limited value of blind ideology.