If I had realized that this YA memoir was about not just the Holocaust in general, but about Schindler’s Jews, I would have read it first and not eleventh. In college, one of my history courses based our entire grade on a midterm test, a final paper, and a final test. We could pick any “misunderstood” historical figure to write that final paper around. I chose Oskar Schindler. I still have this paper, and here are the last sentences of that paper (I got an A+, of course).
“What stops so many people from believing they can make an impact on the world is the fear that because they aren’t perfect, they can’t make a difference. But Oskar Schindler proved that you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero. You don’t have to be a martyr. In fact, Schindler’s inherent imperfection is what saved so many lives when the actions of a martyr could not have.”
Title: The Boy on the Wooden Box
Author: Leon Leyson (with help from Marilyn Harran and Elisabeth Leyson)
Genre: Young Adult memoir
Erin’s teaser synopsis: One of the worst atrocities to ever occur, the Holocaust, has no shortage of survival stories circulating. This, however, is one of the more intriguing and inspiring stories that I’ve read. It’s the story of one young boy whose life was (repeatedly) saved along with many members of his family by the now-infamous Oskar Schindler. The story starts before the war and ends long after, giving a picture of the true impact of Schindler’s aid.
Why I relate to it: I’ve always been horrified yet somehow drawn to the events surrounding the persecution during the Holocaust. Even more so, as noted in my intro, to Oskar Schindler. As I’ve repeated many times in my life (and actually several times today), I like the idea of people more than I like real people. Schindler, however, makes me think I should like more real people.
Judgement call: I thoroughly enjoyed the book, because it showed something we rarely get to see: a family (mostly) preserved throughout the war. Most of the examples, such as Anne Frank, that spring to mind are almost complete tragedies. Otto Frank comes home to discover almost his entire family wiped out and publishes his daughter’s diary in an effort to cope. The Leysons, however, have a different story. And they owe theirs to one man’s efforts.
You can find this book on Amazon.