Many baby boomers grew up with fathers who never talked about their World War II experiences until late in their lives. Leon Leyson was like them, but instead of being a soldier, he was a Jewish boy in Poland in and out of work camps run by the Nazis throughout the war. In post-war America, he wanted to live in the present and raise his children as average citizens of no particular origin. Only with the release of Stephen Spielberg's epic movie Schindler's List did Leyson begin to tell his incredible story, one bound to interest listeners for it included his working for Oskar Schindler, who saved his family from certain death. He told the story in his posthumously published The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible ... on Schindler's List: A Memoir.
Throughout World War II, Leyson was malnourished and small, not a good candidate for factory work. In the camps, he had to endure through heavy manual labor and show no sign of failing to keep from being executed, as so many children and older adults were. Luckily for Leyson, his father was a skill worker who was able to get the sympathetic Schindler to employ Leon. When Nazi inspectors came through Schindler's factory, he would stand on a box behind equipment to appear larger and capable of the work.
There have been many Holocaust stories written in the last half century, and The Boy on the Wooden Box fares well among them. Leyson told a compelling story with a great cast of characters about one of the most dramatic periods in our recent history. I listened to it read by five-time Tony Award nominated actor Danny Burstein. My interest never wavered.
Leyson, Leon. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible ... on Schindler's List: A Memoir. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013. 231p. ISBN 9781442497818.
audiobook. Recorded Books, 2013. 4 compact discs. ISBN 9781740369439.