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9780393324457

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

Eskin, Blake Author

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9780393324457: A Life in Pieces: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski

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 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 Majdanek 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, however, Binjamin was publicly accused of being a gentile imposter: on August 27, 1998, a German novelist named Daniel Ganzfried 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 Wilkomirski? 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. 7 b/w photographs

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About the Author:

Blake Eskin has written for The New Yorker, the Forward, and other publications. He lives in New York City.

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Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2003. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: In 1997, Binjamin Wilkomirski came to New York to read from his prize-winning memoir, "Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood; " raise money for the Holocaust Museum; and look for long-lost relatives. A year later, he was exposed as a gentile impostor. Eskin recounts the battle over Wilkomirski in the media, the survivor community, and his own family. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0393324451

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