Revealed portions of his story he never shared before
Schindler Survivor Shares His Holocaust Experience
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LOVELAND, Colo., —Oskar Schindler’s youngest Holocaust survivor died this month in California. His story will be shared at Lifetree Café community forums from coast to coast during the week of January 27, 2013.
The program features a Lifetree exclusive: a film of Leon Leyson, who was 13 years old when German industrialist Oskar Schindler put him to work in his enamelware factory near Krakow, Poland. Because of his short stature, Leyson stood on a wooden box so he could reach the handles on the machinery.
In the Lifetree film, Leyson describes how the Nazis captured his family members, confined them in the Jewish ghetto area of Krakow, and herded them onto trains bound for concentration camps. “Suddenly, I lost my most basic rights,” recalls Leyson. “I was hungry all the time and frightened all the time.” Leyson describes how Schindler pulled him out of a line bound for the death camps. Schindler named him “Little Leyson” and showed him favor with extra food rations.
After the war, Leyson moved to the United States. He remained quiet about his wartime experience until the release of the Oscar-winning Stephen Spielberg film “Schindler’s List.” Then Leyson gradually began to tell his story.
Lifetree’s Thom Schultz, who conducted the exclusive interview, said Leyson revealed portions of his story he never shared before. “Leyson’s story and his colorful characterization of Oskar Schindler provide a riveting peek into a horrific chapter of history,” Schultz said.
Leyson died on January 12, 2013, at the age of 83, after a four-year battle with lymphoma.
Lifetree Café is a national network of venues where people gather for conversation about life and faith in a casual coffeehouse-type setting.
Lifetree Café locations and times may be found at lifetreecafe.com.