The Wilkomirski Affair: A Study in Biographical Truth

by Stefan Maechler | History |
ISBN: 0330487264 Global Overview for this book
Registered by AnglersRest of Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on 7/25/2005
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by AnglersRest from Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, July 25, 2005
Reviewer: A reader from Great Britain from

In 1995 a slender volume of Holocaust memoir, written by an unknown writer named Benjamin Wilkomirski an entitled "Fragments: Memories of a childhood 1939 - 45 was released. The text gained international acclaim and garnered literary awards for its author. Then in 1998 a Swiss journalist reveal the text and its author to be a fraud - a claim Wilkomirski hotly denied. Maechler's job was to sort fact from fiction, to assess the authenticity of Wilkomirski's claims and to settle the question of wether or not Wilkomirski was a survivor of Majdanek and Auschwitz. Maechler's text outlines in detail both the history that Wilkomirski claims for himself and the history of the publication of his text. He then thoroughly wieghs the evidence against Wilkomirski and in the concludary section of his text, offers valuable insight not only into the nature of the fraud that Wilkomirski perpetuated but also of the audience's reception of his story. The piece is, in its own right, very readable and Maechler's clarity of thought, tone and structure allows the many twists and turns of this story to emerge within the narrative of his own investigation. Maechler's study also includes the text of "Fragments" (the text itself having been withdrawn from publication) which gives the reader the opportunity to assess the book for themselves. A valuable and insightful study that will be of interest to anyone who is curious about the nature of contemporary Holocaust memory or is simply fascinated by literary deceptions

Journal Entry 2 by AnglersRest from Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, July 25, 2005
I read Fragments: Memories of a childhood 1939 - 1945 earlier in the year as part of a ring. I then read various bits about the possibility that the whole thing was a fake and a discussion occurred on the BCUK Yahoo list.

I was in Exeter, trying to cheer myself up as I had a computer problems and was missing my BCUK fix! and rewarded myself with a book or two, and this was one of the books. I bought this with the intention of ringing this book.

Journal Entry 3 by AnglersRest from Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, July 25, 2005
25th July 2005 ~ Opened this book as an International Book Ring, to take part please send me a PM.

The order of the list is subject to change based on mailing preferences and geography

tanis ~ UK
Sternschnuppe28 ~ Germany
Piggeldy ~ Germany (Outside of Germany via Surface)
cisco ~ USA ~ (Shipping within the US)
labmomnm ~ New Mexico USA ~ (International shipping)
Libahunt ~ Finland ~ (International Shipping)>>>>>Book is here!

....back to AnglersRest

Book Ring Rules (Adapted from psychjo & Kleptokitty)
1) Everybody should leave a journal entry when receiving the book and after the read! Please let us all know what you think about it...
2) Also PM the next person on the list for a mailing address and when that person doesn't answer within 7 days MAX! please PM the one after...
3) Everybody should also try to read the book soon (max - approx one month)
4) You can send the book via surface mail or airmail - that is completely up to you.
5) If you find you don't have the time to read it when it's your turn please PM and I'll move you to a later slot.
6) Any new members joining from now will be added to the end of the Ring

Journal Entry 4 by AnglersRest from Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Book posted off to tanis. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by wingGinPoodlewing from Fleet, Hampshire United Kingdom on Thursday, September 08, 2005
Well that certainly was an eye-opening read. I was expecting to hear about a traumatised man who had stretched the truth a little, and for most of this book that is what I still thought to be the case, it's only near the end when I read about the people who's stories he stolen or misrepresented who were very hurt and angry about it that this man's character takes on a more sinister side. I started reading this expecting to have a lot of sympathy for a man who obviously isn't well, and to an extent I still do but I can't forgive the damage he has done to people who had already suffered too much in their lives.


Off in the post to Germany today.

Journal Entry 7 by Sternschnuppe28 from Flörsheim am Main, Hessen Germany on Thursday, October 13, 2005
received today, heard about the guy (Wilkormiski) in a lecture on developmental psychology and am very curious

Journal Entry 8 by Sternschnuppe28 from Flörsheim am Main, Hessen Germany on Saturday, October 22, 2005
WOW!!! That is the best non-fiction book I have read this year!!! It combines the two topics I am mostly interested in: psychology and the Holocaust. Maechler managed to write a clear and thorough expose, that proves beyond any doubt that Wilkomirski is not the person he claims to be and that "Fragments" is fiction literature. Investigative Jounarlism at its best! to be read as a gripping detective story, I could not lay the book aside. Maechler even went further in his book and also included a very perceptive and fair analyses of the whole afffair, including a more general exploration of survivor and eyewitness literature and its implicatiosn for our rememberance of the Holocaust. I also liked that the original piece of literature, "Fragments", was also included in the book, so that the reader was able to look at the source.
I will try to get Maechler´s report in its German original for my permanent collection, so I can read it again and have it as a good reference book.

The journey of "The Wilkomirski Affair" continues today to Piggeldy.

Journal Entry 9 by Piggeldy from Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Friday, November 04, 2005
I received it today, but it has to wait some days until I can start reading.

Edit, December 1st 2005: I have to admit that I skipped some parts of the book, kind of skimming through when I had the feeling of too much repetition...

Maybe a spoiler, so written in "White-on-white-text"; can be read when marked with cursor:
The story somehow reminded me of those who were told by their psychiatrists that they'd been abused in childhood and from that moment on developed a "fake memory" of an abuse which never took place (no, this is not meant depreciating those who really were abused!), and I can imagine that someone kind of re-invents his childhood, with such a attention-demanding story.

I had a first doubt to the truth of his story when I read that Wilkomirski rejected a DNA-Test to determine whether he's related to the Grosjeans still alive.

I hope to be able to send the book along tomorrow; if I cannot come to the post office, it will take till Monday :-(
And don't worry if it takes some weeks: I have to send via surface mail...

Journal Entry 10 by cisco from El Granada, California USA on Thursday, April 20, 2006
I tried and tried, but just can't seem to plow through this one without falling asleep after a few pages.
Although it may be an important topic, the writing is dull, dull, dull. I read to page 177 before abandoning the story.

Ready to send it to the next participant as soon as I receive the address.

Journal Entry 11 by winglabmomnmwing from Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Friday, May 05, 2006
Arrived in the mail - looks really interesting! (Thanks for the bookmark)

12 May '06 - OK, I have a new theory about books, based on my ring/ray experience since joining BookCrossing. This book is a prime example. The first batch of readers love a book, then the next few just can't get into it. Why? My theory is that the people who loved it read all the energy out of the book, so now the book is tired and needs a bit of a rest and just can't be bothered to make the next few people fall for it. I'm with Cisco on this one...I had high hopes but just can't get sucked in. Maybe by the time it gets to Libahunt the book will be rested up and relaxed and ready to enthrall another reader.

(Please, you know I'm kidding with the theory, right?!)

13 May '06 - mailed (air) to Libahunt

Journal Entry 12 by Libahunt from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, May 22, 2006
Got it.

Journal Entry 13 by AnglersRest from Teignmouth, Devon United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 07, 2006
PMs are not getting through. Libahunt can you give me a status update?

Journal Entry 14 by Libahunt from Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I've read about two thirds of the book but got stuck then because of school starting. I'll be finishing it now, thanks for the reminder (I'm sorry I'm so terrible with reading this) If I can't get forward on this week I'll just leave it at that and send it forward on 14th.

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