Leib Lejzon - today Leon Leyson - was 13 years old when his father brought him into Oscar Schindler’s enamelware factory DEF. He was the youngest survivor of Schindler's List.
After World War 2, Leon Leyson spent three years in a displaced persons camp near Frankfurt Am Main in Germany. He came to the U.S. in 1949 and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Afterward, he attended Los Angeles City College and Los Angeles State College and became a teacher. He taught industrial arts at Huntington Park High School for 39 years and is now retired.
Leon Leyson is a member of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education Advisory Board at Chapman University and he has told his story to school groups, universities and community organizations hundreds of times across California and the nation - drawing record crowds and rave reviews. He is married to Liz, and has two children, Stacy and Daniel Tsalig and three grandchildren.
In 2004, Leon Leyson inspired a little 12-year-old girl, Christine McNab, Grade 7 Lakeside Middle School, to write an essay on Oscar Schindler - and in May, 2004, The Chapman University in Orange honored Christine as a local winner of its fifth annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest. Christine ended her essay:
"We all have the choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing, to be brave or to look the other way. Therefore, I want each of us to think about the following words and place them in our hearts: I will be a person of conscience and courage. I will know what is right and what is wrong. I will have the bravery to stand up for what is right. And by combining these qualities, I know that I can and will make a difference in the world."
And in May that same year, Leon Leyson met with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who later said:
"Mr. Leyson is a living example of the good in human nature as exemplified by Oscar Schindler. But his story is also a bitter reminder that we should never forget the evil that took the lives of six million of his fellow Jews. Mr. Leyson's work today to educate our children about the Holocaust is a service to humanity. We must never forget. Never again."
This video was graciously provided by the Chabad Jewish Community Center of Aspen, Colorado. To find more information about Jewish activities and learning opportunities in the Aspen area, check out www.jccaspen.com.