A Student of History

March 4, 2008

Holocaust memoir is really fiction

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 6:50 am

From the IHT:

A best-selling Holocaust memoir has been revealed to be a fake. The author was never trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Neither was she adopted by wolves who protected her from the Nazis, nor did she trek 1,900 miles across Europe in search of her deported parents or kill a German soldier in self-defense. She wasn’t even Jewish, The Associated Press reported. Misha Defonseca, 71, right, a Belgian writer living in Dudley, Massachusetts, about 60 miles southwest of Boston, admitted through her lawyers last week that her book, “Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years,” translated into 18 language and adapted for the French feature film “Surviving With Wolves,” was a fantasy. In a statement to The Associated Press, Defonseca said: “The story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving. I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed. I beg you to put yourself in my place, of a 4-year-old girl who was very lost.” Defonseca, who gave her real name as Monique De Wael, said her parents were arrested and killed by Nazis for Belgian resistance activities when she was 4; she was cared for by her grandfather and uncle. She came under pressure to defend her book after Sharon Sergeant, a genealogical researcher in Waltham, Massachusetts, said she had found clues in the unpublished United States version of the book.

Google Book Search has this to report:

“Surviving with Wolves” was the subject of a motion picture, “Survivre avec les loups”, billed as “a true story”, that premiered in Paris in January, 2008. The book has been published in 18 languages as an authentic account of the Holocaust experiences of a little Jewish girl who walked 3,000 miles across the European theater of war in search of her parents, at times living with wolves in the forest.

Regards, the French magazine, posted an online expose on February 20, 2008, calling Misha Defonseca’s book “Surviving with Wolves”, “the biggest scam of the decade.” Defonseca claims in the book that she lost her identity in the Holocaust; she never knew her surname, nor her parents surnames, nor her place of birth. She says she was given a false identity, Monique Valle, age 4, by the foster family that took her in after her parents were arrested in 1941 when she was 7 years old.

Defonseca, born May 12, 1937, according to records of St Gertrude’s Church in Etterbeek, Belgium, was baptized Monique Ernestine Josephine DeWael, daughter of Robert DeWael and Josephine Donvil. Monique DeWael was registered in school in Schaerbeek, Belgium in September 1943, the period of time when Defonseca claims to have been living with a pack of 10 wolves in the Ukraine.

To view the baptismal record and the school registration, the documents referenced in the Regards article, see the blog by Defonseca’s former publisher: www.BESTSELLERthebook.blogspot.com.

See also Deborak lipstadt’s blog.

Front Cover
Hoax

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