Leon's parents adopted a saying that he used to repeat often when the German's started to take over Poland - "If this is the worst that happens," taking each day one day at a time, dealing with each issue as it came along. Quietly uttered when faced with losing their freedoms, their jobs, their homes, being forced into the Ghetto, then a work camp. I chose to read The Boy on the Wooden box with James to give him a look at what life was like for the Polish Jews whose lives were turned upside down by the war. How they had to scrape and scrounge for food, sharing even the tiniest bit with each other. How they managed to hold onto their humanity in the face of evil. Leon, his brother, and his father worked for Schindler in his factory so he got to know them and was nice to them when the other Germans treated them badly. When they were taken away and put into the labor camp, Schindler worked to build his munitions factory as quickly as possible and put them on his list of the workers needed who were necessary because they were already trained. He managed to save the majority of Leon's family. The memoir is heart wrenching as well as a tribute to perseverance, life and love during the most horrendous of experiences.
Synopsis: Even in the darkest of times—especially in the darkest of times—there is room for strength and bravery. A remarkable memoir from Leon Leyson, one of the youngest children to survive the Holocaust on Oskar Schindler’s list.
Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List.
This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s List child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Most notable is the lack of rancor, the lack of venom, and the abundance of dignity in Mr. Leyson’s telling. The Boy on the Wooden Box is a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read. (less)