On January 27th every year, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. In LAUSD, we take this time to remember one of our own, Leon Leyson, who was a teacher at Huntington Park High School for 39 years, and passed away in 1983.
Leon Leyson is remembered as the youngest Holocaust survivor who was saved from the Nazis by Oskar Schindler, who sheltered him and his family in a factory in Krakow. He was 13 years old at the time. Leyson was born in Poland, and at ten years old he was forced into ghettoes, concentration camps and was separated from his family.
Leyson died just prior to the publishing of his memoir The Boy on the Wooden Box; How the Impossible Became Possible… on Schindler’s List, which is the only memoir written by a former Schindler’s List child. The book was published with the help of his wife Elisabeth B. Leyson and coauthored by Holocaust scholar Dr. Marilyn J. Harran. The memoir went on to become a New York Times bestseller and to win many awards, including being among the top ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.
In 1972, he met his savior Oskar Schindler one last time at a reunion of survivors in Los Angeles before Schindler’s death in 1974. Leyson was not sure Schindler would remember him, but he recognized him immediately, saying “I know who you are, you’re Little Leyson!” (Wikipedia)