Obituaries

Leon Leyson, ‘Schindler’s List’ survivor

Schindler, an industrialist, called him “Little Leyson.”

Los Angeles Times/File 1994

Schindler, an industrialist, called him “Little Leyson.”

WHITTIER, Calif. — Leon Leyson, who was the youngest of 1,100 Jews saved from the Nazis by Oskar Schindler, died in Southern California at 83.

Mr. Leyson died last Saturday in Whittier after a four-year battle with lymphoma.

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Mr. Leyson was nearly 10 when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Six months later, his family was sent to a ghetto in Krakow. He survived as mass killings and deportations to concentration camps escalated.

One time, he told the Times in 1994, SS commandos surrounded the ghetto. He and other boys hid in an attic crawlspace in a building next to their apartment.

His mother managed to join them, but another boy’s mother was taken away.

‘‘I can recount dozens of times where if I had stepped to my left I would have been gone, or if I happened to step to my right,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t anything like being smart or clever or anything like that.’’

He lost two brothers during the Holocaust. One fled to the family’s village and died in a massacre of its 500 residents. The other, who was 16, was deported from the ghetto to a concentration camp.

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Mr. Leyson was the youngest of the Jewish workers that Schindler saved by declaring them necessary for production.