“Stabbed himself with a knife while temporarily insane.”
That’s what the Coroner wrote on my oldest brother’s death certificate, dated October 19, 1960. The document includes the usual details —place of death (Chicago), age of the deceased (twenty-four), and names of mother and father. It does not disclose that he served six months in the Air Force before receiving a General Discharge (it’s not a dishonorable discharge, just means things didn’t work out), nor does it reveal that he graduated from the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio before that. And, certainly, there’s nothing about being a child Holocaust survivor. Well, it’s only a death certificate, not a biography. Now, sixty years after my brother’s death, it is I who must fill in the blank spaces of his short life, though I should say my blank spaces.
Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies
Vol. 51, Issue 1, April 2020