Best-Selling Book a Fraud
Published on February 29, 2008 By Larry Kuperman In Current Events

Misha Defonseca is a sweet looking woman, 71 years old, living in Dudley, Massachusetts. She is also the author of a best-selling book that chronicles a remarkable story of how she, as a child, traveled 1,900 miles across Europe, sometimes in the company of a pack of wolves, in search of her deported parents.

The book, entitled "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," has been translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.

Not one word of it is true.

Defonesca is not her real name, she is Monique De Wael, she is not Jewish and she never left her home in Brussels.

She is now claiming that her parents were resistance fighters, executed by the Nazis. That may be the case, but I for one would want an independent investigation before believing her.

In one of the most dissembling remarks of all time, Misha or Monica or whatever, said that she "felt Jewish" because she was ill-treated by the family that adopted her. She went on:

"This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving." See, there is actual reality and then there is subjective reality, where you can kind of make stuff up.

"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," she said in her statement. "To all who felt betrayed" as opposed to all those real people who died, or who lost real family members, whose actual memories she actually denigrated.

I feel for a 4-year old child who was unhappy and felt alone. I don't feel for a grown woman who wrote a book of lies and made money from it.

This book was recommended to me sometime back. When I heard the part about the pack of wolves, "Mowgli versus the Nazis" if you will, I said that I thought it was fake. I just underestimated the extent to which the author would dare to go.

I only hope that, in partial expiation, she will donate the money that she received to a worthwhile charity, like the Wiesenthal Institure.

What really infuriates about this story is how this fraud will be used by the Holocaust deniers. She has done an incaluable amount of harm with her lies.

on Mar 01, 2008




on Mar 01, 2008

SC, it is really, really weird. Clearly this is a disturbed person. But why this particular fantasy....

Is it guilt over what happened during the war? You wonder what her "true" story was...

One of the most misused words in the English language today is "actually." That whole "actually reality" phrase bothers me. It is like there is an ACTUAL reality and then there are our personal realities.


on Mar 02, 2008

 When David Goldhagen publisher his Hitler's Willing Excecutioners the same kind of charge was made. When Frey publisher his Million Pieces again the same charge. Why cant people write what they want without the second guessing.

on Mar 02, 2008

Bahu, response below:

1- People can write about whatever they want. We call those books NOVELS.

2- When you purport to be telling the truth but aren't "actually" we call that a LIE.

3- When you make money from telling a lie, we call that FRAUD.

There is absolutely no similiarity between the fraud commited by someone who lied about their experiences (as Misha or Monica or whatever) and the Goldhagen book, which is based on scholarly research, and which is controversial only in its conclusions. The Goldhagen book, which offers evidence that the slaughter of millions of Jews was not done by the German people (police, municipal authorities, ordinary civilians) under duress, but was a job accepted with willing hands. goldhagen, for example, documents how at the end of the war, Himmler ordered the killings stopped, but Germans disobeyed his orders in their eagerness to finish the job.

"A Million Little Peices" was also a lie, but was comparitevely innocuous. Frey lied about his life and his past, but not in a manner that depreciated the suffering and deaths of millions.


on Mar 03, 2008

It does sound like an interesting piece of fiction.  But trying to pass it off as non-fiction is a real problem, and unfortunately I agree it will just solidify those who want to beleive the whole episode of history is a fake.

A shame really.  Honesty would probably have not detracted anything from an entertaining story, and still allowed her to cry her soul out to the public.

And I disagree with you about Frey.  His lies are part and parcel of these lies and go hand in hand.  Yes his lies did depreciate the suffering of millions, but those millions are not of one ethnicity or religion.  And some may even say they are not deserving of respect or pity.  But no one can deny their suffering.  Self made as it may be.