Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holocaust denial & hoaxes

Time Magazine reported:
[see also NY Times]

O No. After inviting Holocaust survivor Herman Rosenblat on her show not once, but twice, to promote his memoir Angel at the Fence, Oprah Winfrey proclaimed his memoir "the single greatest love story" she had ever heard. But like James Frey, the Oprah-endorsed author of yore, Rosenblat apparently took it upon himself to "embellish" his life story a bit. That part about meeting his wife after she began secretly tossing apples and bread to him over the fence at the Buchenwald concentration camp? Not true. (Never mind that the book's entire plot, not to mention its title, revolves around this claim). After several Holocaust scholars questioned the book's authenticity (noting that the layout of Buchenwald would not have permitted such clandestine exchanges) and The New Republic published a lengthy article debunking many of the book's central points, Rosenblat fessed up. "I wanted to bring happiness to people," the author explained through his agent a day before the book's publisher decided to cancel the upcoming release. Looks like Rosenblat is destined to join the ranks of disgraced Holocaust author Misha Defonseca, whose A Memoir of the Holocaust Years about escaping the Nazis and being raised by wolves turned out to be — shockingly — not true in the least.


  1. Yeah, we had a scandal even worse in Switzerland: "Bruchstücke" by Benyamin Wilkomirski.

    He said he was a child in the camps and really grew up in Switzerland.

    When a jewish journalist, Mr. Ganzfried first cast doubts on the veracity of this story, the whole jewish community stood up against him and in favor of Wilkomirsky. In the end, someone mandated a historian to verify the story, and it turned out that it was invented from A to Z.

  2. I have spotted Holocaust stories on a Chareidi site that I suspected of being fake asthey were so zany. One of them concerns a Jewish/French resistance fighter who refused to be kept out a stylish clothing shop by Nazi guards, sneaked in by a back door, and met Goering in the aisle. Goering gave her a polite bow. Moral of story: good manners are a thin veneer. I complained to the organization that the story seems absurd.
    This week the organization published a second such story. This story takes place long after the Holocaust. Victims of a Nazi camp are having a reunion and whom does one of the victims see sitting there? A Jewess who served as their vicious kapo during the war, etc. Since the possibility of a kapo showing up at a survivors reunion is as likely as a Goering showing up for Kol Nidrei, I wrote in suggesting that the organization be more scrutinizing.

  3. There's no shortage of "frum" holocaust tales - people who ate only kosher food even while in the concentration camps, who blew shofar, davened every day or had a full seder on Pesach. All of it seems to be for the sake of preserving an image - see, our tzadik is such a tzadik that even then he kept all the mitzvos.
    Sure, and Hogan's Heroes was a historical documentary.
    Anyone who was there can spot the fakes.

  4. How awful that the Rosenblats lied about their story and that the publishers and movie makers fell for it. Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which was a great book and now movie, never pretended to be true. The Rosenblats, like Madoff, are harming the good Jewish name and it's terrible.

    I read a New York Times article about Stan Lee and Neal Adams the comic book artists supporting another TRUE Holocaust love story. There was a beautiful young artist, Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, who painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the children's barracks at Auschwitz to cheer them up. Dina's art became the reason she and her Mother survived Auschwitz.

    Painting the mural for the children caused Dina to be taken in front of Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but bravely she stood up to Mengele and he decided to make her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber as long as she was doing painting for him.

    Dina's story is true because some of the paintings she did for Mengele in Auschwitz survived the war and are at the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. Also, the story of her painting the mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the children's barrack has been corroborated by many other Auschwitz prisoners, and of course her love and marriage to the animator of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the Disney movie after the war in Paris is also a fact.

    I wish Oprah would do a story about Dina and her art not about the Rosenblats who were pulling the wool over all our eyes.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.