A story to bear witness to goodness ..

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Leon Leyson was just a skinny kid when he was chosen to work for Oscar Schindler, though he was so little that he couldn't reach the handles on the machine. He used to stand on an upside-down box. Schindler developed a fondness for him, nicknaming him little Leyson and showing him many kindnesses.

Leyson later recalled: "Occasionally, when he was by himself, he would come and talk to me. He ordered that I get extra rations of food .." David M. Crowe tells in his great book Oskar Schindler how Schindler on one occasion gave little Leyson "a hunk of bread", which Leyson later described as "the most exciting thing" he had been given in a long time. The boy hid the bread and later shared it with his father and brother.


Oscar Schindler at Plaszow

When Leyson's vision began to blur from the factory work, he was excused from the night shift. Schindler's most important act was putting little Leyson on the final list. His two eldest brothers did not survive the war, but he, his parents and brother and sister were saved by Schindler.

Little Leyson's mother and sister were among the 300 Schindler-women, who were routed on a train to Auschwitz by a mistake. Certain death awaited. When they were being herded off toward the showers they did not know whether this was going to be water or gas. Suddenly they heard a voice: 'What are you doing with these people ? These are my people.' Schindler! He had come to rescue them, bribing the Nazis to retrieve the women on his list and bring them back.

The women were released from Auschwitz - the only shipment out of the death camp during World War 2.



From the film Schindler's List

Thomas Keneally tells in his famous book Schindler's Ark how the women were marched naked to a quartermaster's hut where they were handed the clothes of the dead. Half dead themselves, dressed in rags, they were packed tight into the darkness of freight cars. But the Schindler-women with their heads cropped, many too ill, too hollowed out, to be easily recognised - the Schindler-women giggled like schoolgirls. One of the women, Clara Sternberg, heard an SS guard ask a colleague: 'What's Schindler going to do with all the old women?' 'It's no one's business,' the colleague said. 'Let him open an old people's home if he wants.'

The train rolled out of Auschwitz ..



From the film Schindler's List

A Schindler survivor, Abraham Zuckerman, later recalled: 'Can you imagine what power it took for him to pull out from Auschwitz 300 people? At Auschwitz, there was only one way you got out, we used to say. Through the chimney! Understand? Nobody ever got out of Auschwitz. But Schindler got out 300 ...!'

The author Stella Muller-Madej was one of the women. She has recounted her memories in her book, entitled A Girl from Schindler’s List, which has been translated into 9 languages. She later told:

'What I’ll say is nothing poetic, but I will repeat till the end of my days that the first time I was given life by my parents and the second time by Oscar Schindler. 

In ‘44 there were around 700 women transported from Płaszów, 300 of whom were on his list, and he fought for us like a lion, because they didn’t want to let us out of Auschwitz. He was offered better and healthier ‘material’ from new transports, unlike us, who had spent several years in the camp. But he got us out .. he saved us ..'

When the women arrived to the factory in Brunnlitz, weak, hungry, frostbitten, less than human, Oscar Schindler met them in the courtyard. They never forgot the sight of Schindler standing in the doorway. And they never forgot his raspy voice when he - surrounded by SS guards - gave them an unforgettable guarantee: 'Now you are finally with me, you are safe now. Don't be afraid of anything. You don't have to worry anymore.'

One of the Schindler-women later recalled that on seeing him that morning she felt that 'he was our father, he was our mother, he was our only faith. He never let us down.'



Guestbook



During World War 2 Oscar Schindler continually risked his life to protect and save his Jewish workers. He spent every penny he had bribing and paying off the Nazis to get food and better treatment for his Jews. Nobody was hit at his factory, nobody murdered, nobody sent to death camps like the nearby Auschwitz.

Oscar Schindler earned the everlasting gratitude of his Schindlerjews. No matter why, no matter that he was an alcoholic and a womanisor of the worst sort - what matters to his Jews is that he surfaced from the chaos of madness and risked everything for them. And generations will remember him for what he did. No matter how many businesses Schindler failed in, he was a success in life ..

 


 

  Louis Bülow ©2008-10