The Holocaust: Survival Stories
The first work we will read is Fragments: Memoirs of a Wartime Childhood, written by Binjamin Wilkomirski. This work was published in 1995. The memoir is aptly titled because the writer presents his childhood memories in fragmented flashbacks. The narrative takes us through different memories from concentration camps, the ghetto, an orphanage, and a foster home. For instance, Wilkomirski remembers when a new boy came into the barracks and had to go to the bathroom. Since the children were not allowed to go at night, Wilkomirski told him to go in his bed. When the Nazis found out this new boy relieved himself in the bed, he was killed in front of all the other children. Wilkomirski also recalls being hid by women and being the only boy left from the hiding place. He remembers seeing someone who he thinks is his mother in the camps. Wilkomirski also recalls being sent to an orphanage and being afraid someone would realize he didn’t belong there and send him back to the camps. He would steal food out of fear of not eating again soon. He also tells of when he was taken in by the Dossekker family. His memories of this time don’t seem happy, as one might think finding a family would be after all he’s been through. Since Wilkomirski was so young during the war, many of the memories don’t make sense to him, or to the reader. They are not in chronological order and leave many questions unanswered.
Source: Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
by Dina Secchiaroli
Contents of Curriculum Unit 02.01.01: