Camille Hahn, Leon Leyson, and grandchild, at Leyson's home in Fullerton. Leyson, the youngest of 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by Oskar Schindler, died Saturday, January 12, 2013, in Fullerton, Calif. He was 83. His memoir, "The Boy on the Wooden Box," is one of Amazon's best books of 2013.
This week, Amazon chose Leon Leyson's memoir, "The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible," one of its best books of 2013. The title refers to the fact that Leyson had to stand on a box to work the machinery in Schindler's factory.
Leyson lived in Fullerton and taught at Huntington Park High School for decades. He started telling his harrowing story later in life, over and over, to any group who asked him to speak, even though it dredged up horrible memories. He said he wanted the world to know that the Nazis didn't kill numbers; they killed real people. Leyson died in January at the age of 83.
In 2011, journalist Camille Hahn interviewed Leyson for Off-Ramp. He was her father-in-law. We've posted a condensed version of her piece.
By the way, Leon did not see the book in print. Camille tells us that Leon's wife Lis was able to tell him just before he died that an agent had taken on the memoir, and out on the day of his funeral, the family got the news that Simon&Schuster would be publishing it.