In a blow to the both memoir publishers and the Oprah-industrial complex, Herman Rosenblat’s Winfrey-endorsed Holocaust memoir, Angel at the Fence, has been conclusively determined to be total crap. The implausibly romantic story immediately raised eyebrows: Rosenblat claimed to have survived the Buchenwald concentration camp thanks to a young girl — his future wife — who passed food through the security fence. Oprah had the couple on her show twice, calling the tale “the single greatest love story” she had ever encountered. But The New Republic effectively debunked that single greatest love story last week, and over the weekend Rosenblat’s publisher at Penguin canceled the book’s February release. The publisher — already burned earlier this year by fake-ghetto memoirist Margaret B. Jones — has also demanded the return of his advance, a move which is probably accounted for in the contract’s Frey Clause.
Rosenblat admitted to making up his story, but he had really sincere reasons! “I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world,” he said (wherein “make good” means “score a feature-film adaptation,” which is inexplicably still in the works). As for his accomplice-wife, Rosenblat said, “In my dreams, [she] will always throw me an apple.” Yeah, at your face.