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Cover Art
PRINTED BOOKS
Author Eskin, Blake.

Title A life in pieces : the making and unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski / by Blake Eskin.

Published New York : W.W. Norton, 2002.

Copies

Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  833.914 WILKOMI/ ESKI    AVAILABLE
Physical description 251 pages; 25 cm
Contents Hope 19 -- Certainty 41 -- Doubt 66 -- Phantom Siblings 86 -- Character Assassination 104 -- Auschwitz, Switzerland 123 -- Second Holocaust 139 -- Other People's Shoes 154 -- Wilkomirskis of Riga 171 -- Annual Meeting 191 -- California Split 208 -- Conspiracy Theories 226.
Summary In 1997, Binjamin Wilkomirski arrived in New York to read from his prize-winning book Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood, his memoir of an early childhood lost to the concentration camps at Majdanck and Auschwitz, and to raise money for the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. This orphaned survivor also came as the guest of honor to the family reunion of the Wilburs (once Wilkomirskis). The Wilburs hoped to trace the unrecorded link between the Wilkomirskis of Riga in Latvia and the name that Binjamin remembered. The Wilburs and the media embraced Binjamin as a humanitarian whose eloquent story typified that of many child survivors.
One year later, Binjamin was publicly accused of being a Swiss-born, gentile imposter: on August 27, 1998, a German novelist named Daniel Gazfried announced to the world that he had uncovered documentary evidence proving that Fragments was an elaborate fiction. Yet Binjamin still insisted his wartime memories carried more weight than the documents against him, proclaiming, "Nobody has to believe me." Those who continued to believe Binjamin included child survivors, psychotherapists, and his publishers.
Who was Binjamin Wilkomirsk? Why would someone want to be him? And why would so many of us want to believe him? Wilbur family member Blake Eskin recounts the dispute over Binjamin's authenticity through reportage, interviews with Binjamin's acquaintances, and a visit to Riga in search of actual Wilkomirski relatives. In his absorbing narrative Eskin records the reactions of the media, the child-survivor community, and the Wilburs themselves to reveal larger disagreements over the reliability of memory, the value of testimony, and the individual's relationship to history. Part biography, part mystery, and part memoir, Eskin's A Life in Pieces is an important and lasting contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.
Subject Wilkomirski, Binjamin. Bruchstücke.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature.
Authors, German -- 20th century -- Biography.
Impostors and imposture -- Germany -- Biography.
ISBN 0393048713