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“Much like The Boy In the Striped Pajamas or The Book Thief,” this remarkable memoir from Leon Leyson, one of the youngest children to survive the Holocaust on Oskar Schindler’s list, “brings to readers a story of bravery and the fight for a chance to live” (VOYA).

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. 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, 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.

Told with an abundance of dignity and a remarkable lack of rancor and venom, The Boy on the Wooden Box is a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Photograph credit Lis Leyson

Leon Leyson was one of the youngest members of Schindler’s List. He brings a unique perspective to the history of the Holocaust and a powerful message of courage and humanity. Believing that no one would be interested in his story, he rarely spoke about his experiences until the film Schindler’s List received worldwide attention.

A graduate of Los Angeles City College; California State University, Los Angeles; and Pepperdine University, he taught at Huntington Park High School in Huntington Park, California, for thirty-nine years. In recognition of his many accomplishments as educator and witness to the Holocaust, Mr. Leyson was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Chapman University.

Mr. Leyson passed away in January 2013, leaving behind his wife, Lis; their two children; and six grandchildren.

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • ILA Teachers' Choices
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
  • South Carolina Picture Book Award Nominee
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Christopher Award
  • Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee
  • Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee (AZ)
  • Beehive Award Master List (UT)
  • Indian Paintbrush Book Award Nominee (WY)
  • Maine Student Book Award Reading List
  • Texas Lone Star Reading List
  • Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
  • Virginia Readers' Choice Award List
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
  • Georgia Children's Book Award Finalist
  • ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults - Top Ten
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Award Honor Title (CA)
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor Book
  • Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults - TOP TEN
  • MSTA Reading Circle List
  • PSLA YA Top 40
  • YouPer Award (MI)

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