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The Boy on the Wooden Box
Transcript of The Boy on the Wooden Box
by: Leon Leyson
An autobiography and historical book
A jewish boy, Leon Leyson, and his family in World War II
How Schindler saves him, his brother, his sister, and his parents from the Nazi death camps.
Leon Leyson (Leib Lejzon)
brothers (David, Tsalig, and Hershel)
Schindler saved him his mother, father, sister, and brother along with more than 1,000 other jews even though he was a Nazi
the bracelet that identified jews
There was hope the Allies were winning!
When moving with the factory his family and the rest of the workers got caught in a death camp (Gross-Rosen)....Schindler saved them all!
What life was like in a death camp
Leon's father wanted their family to move from their small town of Narewka to the city of Krakow once he got established in his new job and could afford an apartment in the city for all of them.
In Krakow, Leon had a lot of non-Jewish friends. Before the war they were very kind but once the war started, and the Nazi propaganda spread through Krakow, those "friends" ignored him and treated him horribly.
What Life Was Like in the Ghetto
There was never enough food he almost died of starvation
at first they shared an apartment with one other family so they divided the room in half
he became good friends with an elderly man, Mr. Lufting, with whom they shared a room
he did work for him sometimes
When Mr. Luftig left he gave Leon all of his pipes and a glass thermos which later saved Leon's life.
later on he had to share small apartment with up to five other families
His brother Tsalig wouldn't leave his girlfriend even though Schindler could have saved his life.
Plaszow labor camp-
He couldn't believe that it was worse than the ghetto
he was convinced he would never leave alive
they were forced to sleep on a narrow wooden shelves
they had even less food than before
hot water with some salt & pepper was considered soup
he was separated from everyone in his family
his father then said he would ask Schindler to hire Leon
The Nazi in charge (Commandant Goeth) went into the infirmary shortly after Leon left and shot everyone inside just because he wanted to.
he went up to one of the guards told him that his name had been crossed out and asked him to let him through he still doesn't know what gave him the audacity to do that he let him through
Schindler provided more food
the sleeping arrangements were better
nobody got killed for making a mistake
Schindler learned all their names instead of only acknowledging them with a grunt or a curse or a combination
he cared about them and wanted to help them live
the camp got shutdown when the Nazis started losing his dad told them that Schindler had a plan
when they were sent back he spoke up and told the guard that they weren't supposed to leave when he dropped his thermos Schindler saw them and pulled them out of the group headed to Plaszow
The company was going to move west because the Soviets were advancing
Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp
on the way to the new factory the cattle car got sent to Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp
They had their heads shaved
They had no concept of time
They had only each other for warmth
When they were put into barracks they had to lean on each other like stacked chairs since there was no room to lie down
If you collapsed from exhaustion or were thought not useful you were killed
as time stretched on the prisoners felt more like the walking dead and they all feared the worst
Schindler did the impossible and saved not only the men but the women as well from Gross- Rosen
With the Nazis losing, food was becoming even more scarce.
The guards left because the Nazis were losing
Schindler gave all his Jewish workers bolts of navy blue cloth and vodka which he knew they could use to trade for items on the black market
Schindler left and made it to American lines
They were free!
The War Was Coming to An End
They later found out that his brothers Tsalig and Hershel had been killed: Tsalig most likely in the gas chamber in Belzek and Hershel with the Leyson's extended family at the hands of a firing squad when their hometown of Narewka was massacred.
Many years later, a news reporter found him teaching in a small town in California. After he reluctantly did that interview friends, students, and teachers were very impressed by his story and wanted to learn more. After receiving such a warm response he started accepting invitations to speak at churches, synagogues, schools, and political, military, civic, and philanthropic organizations locally, and across the United States and Canada. He wrote this book to inform more people about what life was like for Jews in the camps during World War II. Although the book was often very sad and depressing, I thought it was an excellent book. Those who enjoy reading historic non-fiction books where the main characters are exposed to both horrible and wonderful people and experiences, and overcome great obstacles would very much appreciate this book.
After the War
Sadly he died January 12, 2013
"He outwitted the Nazis by claiming we were essential to the war effort even though he knew that many of us, myself included, had no useful skills at all. In fact, only by standing on a wooden box could I reach the controls to the machine I was assigned to operate. That box gave me a chance to look useful, to stay alive."
The Meaning behind the name
The Boy On the Wooden Box.
Adolf Hitler, Germany's new leader was campaigning to reestablish Germany as a dominant world power. As part of this campaign he blamed the Jews for all of Germany's problems both past and present and and started taking away Jewish rights, the Polish government agreed and did the same.
Jews Were Losing Their Rights-
They could no longer go to parks.
They could no longer use public transportation.
They could no longer own a business or property.
They were not permitted to walk or stand on the sidewalk when a Nazi soldier was using the same sidewalk.
They were then evicted and forced to go live in the ghetto.
"Not even the scariest of fairy tales could
have prepared me for the monsters I would confront while just a boy of ten...or for the hero, disguised as a monster himself, who would save my life."