Kosinski, Jerzy: Being There

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JERZY KOSINSKI ´BEING THERE´ A BOOKREPORT BY ANDRÉ MEYER OCTOBER 2001 S III ASG Hamburg The Author Jerzy Nikodem Kosinski was born in Lodz, Poland on June 14th, 1933. At the beginning of World War II, his father carefully invented a Gentile identity that allowed his family to survive the Holocaust - and Jerzy Kosinski, a Jewish child, was sent away by his parents during World War II in order to escape the Nazi brutality. At the age of nine, J. Kosinski wandered for more than six years through several villages throughout the war and was scorned by East European gypsies who feared his hawklike face and his penetrating eyes. Reunited with his parents after the war, at the age of fifteen, J. Kosinski returned to school and received degrees in history and political science from the University of Lodz in the mid-1950s. Moreover, he became an expert skier. After studying in the Soviet Union he emigrated to the United States he arrived in New York on Dec. 20, 1957 with a Polish passport and only 3,80 Dollar in his pocket. Within four months J. Kosinski spoke fluent English and was able to write his works in this language; he taught himself by memorizing words from a Russian-English dictionary, repeatedly viewing movies, and memorizing poems by Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. J. Kosinski catapulted to fame in 1965 with ´The Painted Bird´, a mythic story about a hideous childhood in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. ´Steps´ - rewarded with the National Book Award - which deals with ...

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