Youngest Person Saved by Oskar Schindler Dies

Leon Leyson Was 13 When Rescued by Industrialist

youtube/abc

By JTA

Published January 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The youngest person saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler has died.

Leon Leyson, who Schindler called “Little Leyson,” died of lymphoma on Jan. 12 in Whittier, Calif., at 83, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Leyson was 13 when he went to work at Schindler’s factory in Krakow, Poland, where he had to stand on a box to operate the machinery.

He was a high school educator for nearly four decades and rarely spoke about his Holocaust experiences until the 1993 release of the Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List.” Following the interest generated by the Steven Spielberg movie, Leyson traveled throughout the United States telling his story.

Two of Leyson’s brothers were killed in the Holocaust, including one that Schindler added to his list but who refused to get off the train to Auschwitz because his girlfriend was not on the list, according to the Los Angeles Times. Schindler placed Leyson’s mother and two other siblings on the list of 1,100 Jews along with his father, making it one of the few families that he protected.

Leyson’s siblings later immigrated to Israel.

Leyson criticized the film for emphasizing Schindler’s womanizing and profiteering as opposed to his decency and compassion, the newspaper said.

In 1949, Leyson immigrated to America and later fought in the Vietnam War. He taught machine shop and was a guidance counselor at Huntington Park High School, retiring in 1997.

He was the father of two and grandfather of four.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.