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Wilkomirski's memoir is the result of his efforts to recover, with the help of a psychiatrist, hitherto repressed memories of a childhood spent in concentration camps. The book begins with his earliest memories of family life in Poland, when he was a toddler. As the title suggests, the recollections he has managed to salvage truly are fragments, ranging from the vague (how many brothers did Binjamin have?) to the gruesomely specific (the brutal murder of Wilkomirski's father in his tiny son's presence). The very young boy (he is three, perhaps four years old) is led away by a woman who promises to take him to a place with the lilting name of Majdanek. It was, of course, a a concentration camp. There, with the aid of benevolent strangers, he learns how to endure, albeit at the cost of a shattered soul. At a Polish orphanage after the war, Wilkomirski, his family gone, is again led away by a woman—one who promises him a better life in beautiful Switzerland. Meanwhile, young Binjamin still partially yearns for the familiar world of the camps, the only world he knows. Wilkomirski's narrative style blends the child's viewpoint with the mature understanding of the adult, unsentimentally recreating situations with arresting poignancy. Thrust into the cozy, comfortable Swiss way of life, the author is haunted by fears of betrayal. Has he betrayed his mother by calling another woman "mother"? Has he betrayed those who perished by living among the enemy, those "who live in whole houses and who don't wear striped shirts"?
Considering the high literary quality of this book, its admirers will no doubt lock horns with critics of the "recovered memory syndrome." Wilkomirski's voice is brave and lyrical, and his memoir is a piercing window onto the past.
Posted December 4, 2002
This story is by Binjamin Wilkomirski and is about him as a boy sent from Nazi concentration camp to Nazi concentration camp during the war. Though he was sent to many different camps, the ones he talks about most are the ones stationed in Krakow, Switzerland and in Majdanek. The reason that he has named the book ¿Fragments¿ is because he has shared with us only fragments of his childhood. This book was very good because it is very intense and also explains what life was like for kids during the war. This book is very good, yet should not be read by younger kids. I would rate this book 5 stars. Although the best books I have read are Harry Potter and this book wasn¿t as good as the HP series, I think that ¿Fragments¿ was very interesting and kept you in suspense during the time you were away from the book. ¿Kids survive Nazi camp to tell about it today.¿Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.