the boy on the wooden box

Lis and Leon 1995-1 copyThis is my interview with Elisabeth B.Leyson.

When did you meet Leon? Leon and I met in January of 1965 and were married the following July.

What was the catalyst for writing this book? The catalyst for writing the book was the intense interest in his story as demonstrated by audiences, old and young, academic and other, religious and nonreligious.  Comments following his speeches always included several requests that he write his story.

How long did it take to write this book from start to finish? I would say that it took about 15 years for him to hone his oral presentation and about 3 more years to reach the final manuscript.  I am extremely grateful to Caitlyn Dlouhy, editor, for her guidance during the revision process.

What did Leon enjoy doing? Leon enjoyed being with his children, grandchildren, and friends; concerts, theater, discussion groups, exercising, movies, ballet, fixing things that “couldn’t” be fixed, good food, Starbuck’s coffee, and life every single day.

Who do you really admire? I truly admire Leon.  He taught me so much about what is important in life, how to be supportive of others, and what it means to have found one’s soul mate.

What would you not know about if Leon hadn’t taught you? Leon taught me that often many ‘impossibles’ could be fixed…sewing machines, door hinges, radios, broken locks, filters, automatic timers, and the list goes on and on.  Not that I couldn’t repair anything ever, but from watching him, I learned that many things that I would have tossed could be repaired and would be better than the original.

When Leon met Oskar Schindler, what were his feelings towards him? Leon describes in the book his feelings about meeting Oskar Schindler.  As the years passed, Leon felt even deeper gratitude to Schindler for the latter’s heroism.

What was the most positive thing that happened because of this book? There are many positive things that have happened and continue to happen because of the book, a few of which are the outpouring of gratitude to Leon for writing the book, the worldwide sale of publishing rights to the story, the artwork for the English edition and for the covers of the book in other languages that capture different aspects of Leon and his story.

What do you think Leon would be most pleased about regarding this book? Leon would be most pleased by the astonishing, widespread enthusiasm and gratitude for his book.

What do you hope readers will learn from Leon’s story? Leon was asked many times what he hoped readers would learn from his story.  His response was that he did not want to limit what readers value in the story.  He learned from the hundreds of comments, oral and written, that each individual has her/his own perspective and seems to find many differing messages.  Leon did not want to give limits to how readers reacted.  I feel exactly as he did.

Read my review of ‘The Boy on the Wooden Box; How the Impossible Became Possible…on Schindler’s List’ here

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