Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.

Leon Yehuda Leib was born in 1875 in Berezino [Byerazino, Berezyna]. His parents were Rocha Rachel (nee Gelfand 1851–1941) and Izhak Astrachan (1855–1917). Leon had five brothers and sisters: Meiron Meir (born 1885), Slava, Bluma (born 1890), Moshe and Brayna.
Leon's parents were very religious. They kept kosher, went to synagogue every day, celebrated all the Jewish holidays and used to fast on Yom Kippur.

Leon's paternal grandparents were Haim Eliyahu (1835–1914) and Batya Astrachan (Batya was the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Zalman Nisanyevitsh). Haim and Batya had four children: Izhak, Nisan, Branya and Bera. Haim Eliyahu had a sister Pesya. The father of Haim Eliyahu was Yechiel Michael (Mica) Astrachan and Yechiel had a brother Mendel.

Yechiel's father was Zeida Izale Izhak Astrachan who was born in the seventies of the eighteenth century and was a descendant of the Khazars.
The family name is from the origin of the head of the family Zeida Izale Izhak Astrachan who came from the city Astrachan located on the estuary of the Volga River to the Caspian Sea. Over the years, the Astrachan family settled in Berezino [Byerazino, Berezyna] where Leon was born.
The Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec] family also lived in Berezino [Byerazino, Berezyna]. Some of the sons and daughters of these two families intermarried and they became very close. Leon's aunt Brayna (the sister of his father Izhak) was married to Bera Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec] (the brother of Menucha who would be Leon's wife). Leon's uncle Nisan (the brother of his father Izhak) was married to Besya Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec] (the sister of Menucha). Menucha's grandfather Hirsh David (the father of her father Eliezer) was married to Yudsha (nee Astrachan).

Leon himself married a Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec] daughter: in 1898 when Leon was twenty three years old he married Menucha Noya Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec]. Leon and Menucha had three children: Michael Misha (the second name of the father of Leon's grandfather) born in 1899, Loka Eliezer born in 1902 and Sonya born in 1908. Leon and Menucha with their children wandered between Riga and Minsk, and in 1919 when Minsk was taken over by the Bolsheviks, they moved to Bialystok, Poland.

From the beginning of the 20th century, Leon had a business in wood trading and he owned sawmills. At first his trading was in Russia, then in Poland and his main office was at 1 Aleje Jerozolimskie in Warsaw. During the First World War, Leon's business included cutting down trees in the forests of south Poland, transporting the logs on the Wisła river and processing them into wood in sawmills near the city of Bydgoszcz. Then he distributed the wood to consumers in the region of Warsaw and all over Europe through Danzig [Gdańsk] port on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Most of his customers were German businessmen.

In 1921 Leon and his wife and children moved to Danzig [Gdańsk] where he built the center of his business. In 1923 Leon built a big house for his family at 2 Opitz Street. The spacious house had 30 rooms for Leon's extended family: every member of the family, such as cousins and nephews that needed help or a place to live (students who came to study in Danzig [Gdańsk]) used to live there. Leon's daughter Sonya’s private teachers also lived with them. It was a cheerful and happy home. Leon and Menucha had good relations with their Christian neighbors and customers. Leon and Menucha spoke Russian, Polish and German.

After Leon's daughter Sonya immigrated to Palestine (Eretz Israel) in 1934 and got married a year later to Aba Ahimeir, Leon and Menucha hoped to immigrate to Palestine too. In 1938 when Sonya was pregnant, Leon visited in Palestine (Eretz Israel) in order to create an economic base for living there. He was interested in purchasing the "Itzhar" oil factory. One of Leon's sisters already had two lots of land on Mt. Carmel. Leon had a cousin Mima (the daughter of his aunt Brayna Sterobinyetz [Starobiniec] that was also the niece of Menucha) who had lived in Palestine since 1935.
Leon returned to Danzig [Gdańsk] intending to prepare the family for immigration. At the beginning of August 1938, Sonya and Aba Ahimeir came with their baby Jakob who was just born a few weeks before in July, to visit Leon and Menucha and help them with the preparations.

At the end of August 1938, the Nazis who ruled in Germany and in the German cities like Danzig [In 1938, Gdańsk was formally independent as the Free City of Gdańsk], forced Leon's family to abandon the family house in Danzig [Gdańsk] and find an alternative residence. The Nazis turned Leon and Menucha's house in Danzig [Gdańsk] into the Gestapo headquarters and built prison cells in its yard.

Leon and Menucha, together with their son Misha and his son Jędruś (Andrzej) (Misha was divorced), Leon's mother Rocha, Leon's widowed sister Salva Levi and Ms. Antonia Siroka (the attendant of Menucha who had Parkinson disease) moved to a house that Leon rented at 38 (26) Żeromskiego Street in Otwock, a health resort town 30 km south of Warsaw surrounded by forests. Leon continued with the preparations for immigration to Palestine, but the preparations took a long time because of the bad condition of Menucha's health and Leon's business obligations. Unfortunately it was too late when the beginning of the Second World War cut off the immigration plans. Leon’s brother Meiron with his wife and daughter, Leon's sisters Salva and Bluma moved to Otwock too.

Sonya and Aba Ahimeir with their baby son Jacob, stayed with Leon and Menucha in the house in Otwock for a year. That year was Leon and Menucha's last year with their daughter’s family. That time together was their last moments of happiness that were severed by the war that began in September 1939. Sonya and Aba Ahimeir and their son had Palestinian passports. Therefore they managed to escape from Poland during the first days of the war and return to Palestine, deeply sad at leaving Sonya's parents behind.

Leon's brother Moshe emigrated at the beginning of 1939 to Missouri U.S.A with his wife Sonia and two sons Izek (Jak) and Solomon (Sol). Moshe passed away in U.S.A in 1951.

At the beginning of the war in September 1939, a ghetto was built in Otwock and Leon's family was forced to move there [The establishment of the ghetto in Otwock by the Germans took place on September 26, 1940.].

Leon's niece Etia (the daughter of his sister Salva) who got married a few months before the war, escaped with her husband to Wilna, but she returned by herself after a few months and lived with them in Otwock. Leon's mother Rocha died in the ghetto in November 1941 at the age of 90 years old. On the morning of August 19, 1942, the Nazis began the liquidation of the ghetto. Menucha was murdered inside the house by the SS. Leon, his brothers and sisters: Meiron with his wife Adia and daughter Brunia, Salva with her daughter Etia, Nisan with his wife and one daughter and Bluma, were transported in cattle cars on a train to Treblinka extermination camp and were murdered there that same day.

Leon's grandmother Batya and grandfather Haim Eliyahu passed away at an advanced age: Batya in 1913 and Haim Eliyahu in 1914. But Leon's father Izhak passed away at a young age in 1914. Leon's uncle Bera Astrachan (the brother of his father) passed away in 1917; he had one son Misha who died during the Second World War in Leningrad. Leon's sister Brayna Hirshfeld passed away in 1918 and her daughter Lusia Lipton moved to Australia. Leon's aunt Brayna was murdered with him in Treblinka on August 19th 1942. She had two daughters: Edya who passed away before the Second World War, and Mima who immigrated with her husband Mr. Melamed to Palestine in 1935 and passed away in Israel in 1975.