Youngest Survivor on Schindler's List Dead at 83

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 14 2013 11:43 AM

Today's Must-Read Obit: "Little Leyson," Youngest Survivor on Schindler's List

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Steven Spielberg (third left) poses with Holocaust survivors (from left) Celina Biniaz, Rena Fagen, Lewis Fagen, Leon Leyson, and Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig on March 3, 2004, in Los Angeles

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images.

The Los Angeles Times brings us news of the death of Leon Leyson, the youngest survivor on Oskar Schindler's list, who lost his four-year battle with lymphoma on Saturday at the age of 83:

Among the 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by German industrialist Oskar Schindler was an emaciated 13-year-old boy named Leon Leyson, who had to stand on a box to reach the machinery in the Krakow factory where Schindler sheltered him and his family.
The boy Schindler called "Little Leyson" survived the Holocaust to start life over in Los Angeles. He taught high school in Huntington Park for 39 years, rarely mentioning to anyone the pain and perils he experienced during the war that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews. Then came the celebrated 1993 movie "Schindler's List," which ignited public interest in the stories of Holocaust survivors.
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The entire obit is worth your time. It closes with the story of the last time Leyson saw Schindler, during his visit to California in 1974 shortly before his death. Leyson was among those who greeted Schindler at the Los Angeles airport upon his arrival. When he began to introduce himself, however, Schindler stopped him. "I know who you are," he said, smiling. "You're Little Leyson."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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