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4.9 out of 5 stars42
4.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 January 2014
I didn't plan on reading this on Holocaust Memorial Day, but it's very apt that I did, and makes it all the more poignant.

Most reading this review will know the name if not the story of Oskar Schindler. This is the other half of the story - the memoir of one of those he saved, one of the youngest on the List. So small at fifteen he had to stand on a box to work Schindler's machinery, Leon Leyson managed to convince the Nazis he was essential to the production line and survive the War.

The story complements Keneally's book beautifully, with some familiar scenes described from young Leon's perspective that make the terrible evil perpetrated more real. We see life inside the ghetto, the concentration camp, how families struggled to eat, to hide, to make it to tomorrow.

Leon's voice is brave. Tragic. Even uplifting. Like 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' his voice is that of an innocent boy ripped from childhood by some of the worst atrocities mankind has ever enacted. The danger to his family is real and immediate, their saviour clearly admired and adored by Leon.

It's a wonderful book - graphic enough to bring tears to your eyes but not graphic enough to prohibit upper primary and secondary students from engaging with it and being able to access the history within. It would be a superb addition to the curriculum, alongside Morris Gleitzman's Once/Then/Now trilogy.

One of my favourite segments are the opening few chapters where Leon looks back at the pre-war childhood he remembers and how the early days of the war felt exciting and distant. How things change for ten-year-old Leon is stark and upsetting but well-told.

So sad, so uplifting, such a powerful reminder that we can all make a difference to other people's lives. And that the instinct to survive doesn't mean losing our humanity.
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2014
I had read a chapter of this book in a Sunday newspaper. I pre-ordered the paperback edition of the book and was not disappointed.

I’ve read quite a few ‘Auschwitz’ stories and the majority of them are quite horrible (for want of a better word).

This is told by Leon Leyson whose given name was Leib Lejzon and is a compelling read of how he and most of his family survive the holocaust and are helped by Oskar Schindler. He has to stand on a wooden box to work the machinery. He was only 10 at the time and the youngest person to appear on ‘Schindler’s list’. There is a photograph of the list in the book along with family photos.

He survives and that is what’s amazing. In one of the chapters Leon is whipped and you are willing him not to lose track of counting up to 25 or the whipping will start again. I found the start of chapter 9 quite hard: “ Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp, only 175 miles north west of Krakow but more than one million miles from the civilised world. October 1944. I am naked. My head is shaved. I am shivering from cold and fear. I am surrounded by total darkness. Gradually night turns to day and I am still naked ………………”

It’s a shame that Leon died without knowing that his memoirs would be published.
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on 9 October 2013
I ordered this book because I read a review and am always interested in understanding what happened to the Jews in Poland.
It was so well written that I couldn't put it down and read it in a day. It is a very sad story, but also illustrates the courage of Schiller in his efforts to save his Jewish workers and their families.
I would recommend this book to anyone, to remind them of the horrors of war and how we must all do all we can to prevent such atrocities happening to the Jews again in our I lifetime.
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on 15 September 2013
A wonderful account by Leon Leyson of his terrible experiences during World War 2 - unbelieveable that anyone survived the harsh conditions and treatment. Made me feel very humble.
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on 24 October 2013
A very readable account of a fascinatingly tragic story. It brings the whole "Schindler's List" account to life. Despite the very sad subject matter it is basically a story of hope, optimism and redemption over adversity.
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on 20 June 2014
Having a Jewish daughter in law and granddaughter I read a lot about the awful way the Jewish race have been treated over the centurys this was so uplifting on how Leon endured such an awful time and came through to be this warm caring person how does anyone do this without hate
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on 11 October 2013
I wanted to read this when it was reviewed months before release. A very moving book. I heartely recommend it.
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on 27 May 2014
I decided to read this on my Kindle after coming back from a holiday in Poland where we visited Krakow and Auschwitz, so my interest in this book was fired up. Leon Leyson has written his story so well and it is very sad and poignant reading his memories. However, without spoiling the book for possible readers, out of human wickedness, shines faith, kindness and goodness. Thank you Leon for sharing your story for others to read.
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on 6 June 2014
Thought this book was really insightful can't even imagine being there. Brilliantly told and enjoyed the children's parts at the ends
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on 12 July 2015
This book deserves more than 5 stars, an amazing story of survival over evil, the telling of 10 year old Leon's life during the 2nd world war is truly inspirational. From German invasion, restriction in the ghetto, selection and internment in concentration camps, starved and beaten, and the threat of death at any time he survived, and makes it onto the now famous Schindlers List along with other members of his family. An unforgettable story, sad, and upsetting but a must read for any-one who wants to learn the truth about this terrible period in our history,
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