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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.

5 Comments

  1. Furtherglory wrote: “Did the reporter, who wrote the news article, make a mistake in the dates, or did Leon Leyson make a mistake in his memoir?”

    Option number 3: Or is Mr Leon Leyson another holo-liar? Is that possible Leon Leyson was never imprisoned at Plaszow or any other German concentration camp? Is that posible Leon Leyson ‘regained his memory’ (i.e. invented his holo-fable) after watching the film “Schindler’s List”* as many other “Holocau$t survivors” did?

    * “For almost five decades, Leon Leyson never said much about the horrors of Holocaust or the salvation of becoming one of Schindler’s Jews. But the film “Schindler’s List” changed everything. Overnight everyone was interested in the subject – people were eager to hear from someone who had actually been there with Oskar Schindler. Leon Leyson found himself talking about and sharing a part of his life that was locked inside him for so long.” (http://www.oskarschindler.dk/leyson.htm)

    Nobody was interested in Leyson’s ‘testimony’ after Keneally’s novel “Schindler’s Ark” won the Booker Prize in 1982, but everybody was interested in his ‘testimony’ after Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List” was shown. Maybe that was because Keneally’s book won the Booker Prize for “FICTION” while Spielberg’s film was supposed to be like a documentary (that’s why it was shot in black and white). 😉

    Comment by hermie — September 23, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    • I read the story in the link that you provided. Again, I am concerned about the dates. The Belzec camp was open from March 17, 1942 to the end of December 1942. What was the date that Schindler went to the train station to try to pull prisoners off the train?

      This quote is from the website to which you linked:

      Begin quote:
      In Elinor J. Brecher’s great book Schindler’s Legacy Leyson tells how the Nazis took Tsalig and sent him with a transport to the death camp Belzec, though he might have been saved: “It seems that Oskar Schindler was at the station, looking to pull someone off the train. He had seen Tsalig at Emalia with Moshe – he had the memory of an elephant – and offered to take him off. But Tsalig didn’t want to leave his girlfriend.”

      They were both murdered by the Nazis.
      End quote

      I think that the train scene in the movie might have taken place AFTER the Belzec camp was closed.

      There is a scene in the movie Schindler’s List where a woman hides under a stairwell when the Nazis come to round up the Jews in the Ghetto in June 1942 to take them to the Belzec extermination camp.

      Were the trains taking Jews from Schindler’s sub-camp of the Plaszow camp to Belzec before December 1942? No, I think that the trains were going to Auschwitz because Belzec was closed by that time.

      There was a direct railroad line to Auschwitz from the Plaszow camp. Tourists today take the train to the Plaszow Memorial Site and then get back on the train to go to Auschwitz.

      Comment by furtherglory — September 24, 2013 @ 7:24 am

      • FG wrote: “I think that the train scene in the movie might have taken place AFTER the Belzec camp was closed.”

        Reading Elinor J. Brecher and Leon Leyson’s books would probably enable to know when Tsalig Leyson was allegedly deported to Belzec. Anyway that tale is fictional in my opinion because I doubt the Nazis would have told anybody about Belzec if they really had had a death camp there.

        Comment by hermie — September 24, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  2. ‘Mr Leyson only managed to rejoin his family after sneaking past a guard’

    Once again, a dumb Nazi outwitted by a smart Jew.

    ‘Mr Leyson once had his leg bandaged at the infirmary’

    Ho ho ho here we go again, those brutal Nazis, bandaging people’s legs at the ‘infirmary’.

    I give up, I really do….

    Comment by DB — September 23, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

    • The book will be marketed as Holoporn for the gullible…..and unfortunately that describes about 95% of the people.

      Comment by peter — September 23, 2013 @ 3:33 pm


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