Replacement or ever present: Jerzyk, Irit and Miriam
Jerzy Feliks Urman – the sole recorded child suicide of the Holocaust – left a diary that he kept while in hiding in what is now western Ukraine. This diary, his mother’s diary and other family documents are the centrepieces of Anthony Rudolf’s study of the boy (Rudolf’s second cousin once removed), Jerzyk. Now, the story of Jerzyk frames that of his sister, Irit, born after the war, when her parents, uncle and grandparents emerged from hiding. She talks of Jerzyk as being ‘ever-present’. Rudolf also recounts the case of the Slovakian-born poet Miriam Neiger-Fleischmann (now resident in Jerusalem), even more of a replacement child than Irit. Miriam Neiger-Fleischmann was named after and for her half-sister who perished in Auschwitz.
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