A Life in Pieces: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski

Blake Eskin




W W Norton & Co Inc

Publication Date:




A searing account of the rise and fall of the author of Fragments, told by a descendant of the Wilkomirskis of Riga.
In 1997, Binjamin Wilkomirski came to New York to read from his prize-winning Holocaust memoir Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood, raise money for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and meet his perhaps-relatives, the Wilburs (once Wilkomirskis). The Wilburs—and the world—embraced Binjamin as a humanitarian whose eloquent and haunting tale of childhood stood for untold others. A year later, however, Binjamin was publicly accused of being a gentile impostor. He insisted his memories outweighed the documents against him but proclaimed, "Nobody has to believe me." Journalist and presumed cousin Blake Eskin recounts the dispute through riveting reportage and memoir, interviewing Binjamin's acquaintances and visiting Riga in search of actual Wilkomirskis. The reactions of the media, the child-survivor community, and the Wilburs themselves shed light on debates about the reliability of memory, the nature of identity, and the uses and misuses of history. 7 b/w photographs.

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Other editions: 2002, Softcover - 1998

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