This essay explores questions about memory and its relation to historical truth, chiefly through an examination of the “Wilkomirski case,”involving a highly acclaimed Holocaust memoir that has now been shown to be a fake. I argue that the categorical distinction between memoir and novel, while not always easy or even possible to determine, is nonetheless important;Wilkomirski's Fragments is neither an authentic memoir nor a novel but a false or deluded memoir. I discuss in contrast to this work a passage from the recent memoirs of Elie Wiesel, in which Wiesel himself revises a fragment of his acclaimed work Night. Such revision enriches both the author's and the reader's interpretations of a life-shattering experience.
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Susan Rubin Suleiman; Problems of Memory and Factuality in Recent Holocaust Memoirs: Wilkomirski/Wiesel. Poetics Today 1 September 2000; 21 (3): 543–559. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-21-3-543
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