Schindler's list survivor dies

Jan. 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM
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FULLERTON, Calif., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Leon Leyson, one of the the youngest survivor saved from the Nazis by German businessman Oskar Schindler, has died his daughter said. He was 83.

The longtime Fullerton, Calif., resident died Saturday after a four-year battle with lymphoma, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Leyson was 13 years old when Schindler recruited him to stand on a box to work the machinery in his Krakow factory along with his family, the Times said.

Schindler would eventually be responsible for the survival of 1,100 during the Holocaust, the story of which is told in Steven Spielburg's 1993 movie, "Schindler's List."

Leyson kept quiet about his experience during World War II, only breaking his silence after the film increased public interest in stories like his. He began a public speaking career after the release of the film that sent him across the United States and Canada to share his story.

"Any time he told his story he never used notes, he never gave the same talk twice. It always came from the head and the heart," his friend and Chapman University religious studies professor Marilyn Harran said. "It made people walk away wanting to be better people, to care more, to remember not only the Holocaust but to remember that we can never be indifferent."

Leyson immigrated to the United States in 1949 and worked as a high school teacher in Huntington Park for 39 years.

He is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren, and a brother and sister, the Times reported.

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