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made-up holocaust memoirs

Did Oprah Endorse a Made-Up Holocaust Memoir?

When all the outlandish claims in Misha Defonseca's ridiculous Holocaust memoir Misha almost slipped by unnoticed earlier this year, Herman Rosenblat probably thought he could put anything he wanted to into his ridiculous Holocaust memoir, just so long as he didn't claim he was raised by wolves or something (which Defonseca did, hilariously). But he might've been mistaken! The New Republic has just posted an investigation into Rosenblat's upcoming biography, Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived, in which the retired TV repairman claims he was kept alive during his stay in the Buchenwald concentration camp by a girl who slipped him food through the fence, and whom he subsequently married years later after meeting her on a blind date ("The single greatest love story, in 22 years of doing this show, we've ever told on the air," says Oprah, who's had him on her show twice). As it turns out, though, it's possible that none of this even happened.

According to TNR: It would've been impossible for a Buchenwald prisoner, or person on the outside, to access the fence. The only possible location to which someone could get near, according to Professor Kenneth Waltzer, Michigan State University's director of the Jewish Studies program, was "right next to the SS barracks." Also, Rosenblat's story is doubted by those who were in the concentration camp with him, including Ben Helfgott, a fellow survivor who "went through the Holocaust with Herman every step of the way, and never once heard of the girl at the fence until Herman spoke publicly of his story in the 1990s." "The story is a figment of his imagination," says Helfgott. "There is not a word of truth in what he is saying."

Reps from Penguin, Rosenblat's publisher, insist his story has been fact-checked, as does Harris Salomon, the president of Atlantic Overseas Pictures, who's producing a $25 million film based on Angel at the Fence. Even so, we can't imagine Oprah will be too pleased to hear about this.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Sold [The New Republic]

Photo: Courtesy of Penguin