JUDGES of a leading Jewish literary award have withdrawn a non-fiction prize from an author whose work has been exposed as fiction.
Binjamin Wilkomirski received the 1997 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate award for Fragments, which was subtitled, Memoirs Of A Childhood 1939-1945.
The book purported to follow the author’s childhood experiences in the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps.
It later emerged that the author had never been in a concentration camp and had, in fact, spent the war in Switzerland.
Through Wingate Foundation funding, 4,000 will now be shared among the other short-listed authors for the 1997 award Louise Kehoe, Silvia Rodgers and George Steiner.
This years prizes, which were presented on Wednesday, went to Howard Jacobson (fiction) for The Mighty Walzer, and to Wladislaw Szpilman (non-fiction) for The Pianist.
Jewish Chronicle, May 5 2000, • Nisan 30, 5760