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September 23, 2013

New book by Leon Leyson, the youngest survivor on Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:44 am

This news article in The Independent tells about Leon Leyson, the youngest survivor on Schindler’s List, who died just before his memoir was published.  I have not read the book; it has just “hit the shelves” according to the news article.

I previously blogged about the death of Leon Leyson here.

This quote is from The Independent:

He was one of the youngest Holocaust survivors to be saved by Oskar Schindler, and he waited almost 70 years to tell his story. Sadly, Leon Leyson died before he could see his memoir published. The extraordinary, horrifying and heart-breaking book The Boy on the Wooden Box, about a 13-year-old who found his way onto Schindler’s famous list, was released in the US by Simon & Schuster’s children’s division today.

The Plaszow labor camp where Leon Leyson was a prisoner

The Plaszow labor camp where Leon Leyson was a prisoner

Reading through the news article in The Independent, this quote grabbed my attention:

The [Leyson] family was sent to the Plaszow camp in 1940, and Mr Leyson only managed to rejoin his family after sneaking past a guard at huge personal risk. He described stepping through the gates like “arriving at the innermost circle of hell” adding the moment he arrived “I was convinced I would never leave alive”.

The Plazow camp was set up, as a forced labor camp for Jews, in the fall of 1942, according to the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel.  So Leon’s family could not have been sent to Plaszow in 1940.  Leon is the second person that I know of, who sneaked into the Plaszow camp.

Fence around the former Plaszow camp, which has been torn down

Fence around the former Plaszow camp, which has been torn down

The quote from The Independent continues with this information:

The camp’s commandant was the infamous Amon Goeth. Among the frequent brushes with fate, Mr Leyson once had his leg bandaged at the infirmary, finding out later that Goeth had all the patients arbitrarily shot moments after he had left.

Amon Goeth was the Commandant of the Plazow camp from February 1943 to September 1944 when he was arrested by the German Gestapo for stealing from the camp.  How much contact did Leon actually have with Amon Goeth?

Did the reporter, who wrote the news article, make a mistake in the dates, or did Leon Leyson make a mistake in his memoir?

This quote is also from the news article:

In a final act of salvation, in April 1945 with the Germans fleeing, they were ordered to murder all the Jewish workers in the Brinlitz camp. Schindler managed to thwart the plan and have the SS officer in charged transferred out of the area.

Not according to the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has this to say about Oskar Schindler’s factory:

Though classified as an armaments factory, the Brünnlitz plant produced just one wagonload of live ammunition in just under eight months of operation. By presenting bogus production figures, Schindler justified the existence of the sub-camp as an armaments factory and thus facilitated the survival of over 1,000 Jews, sparing them the horrors and brutality of conventional camp life. Schindler left Brünnlitz only on May 9, 1945, the day that Soviet troops liberated the camp.

There were stories about the Nazis planning to kill all the prisoners in all the camps, at the end of the war, but this turned out to be untrue. You can read about the alleged plan to kill all the prisoners at Dachau on my website here.

At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, Ernst Kaltenbrunner was accused of ordering all the prisoners to be killed at the end of the war.  You can read his testimony on another blog post which I wrote.