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View Full Version : ANOTHER FALSE MEMOIR (merged: Holocaust writer)



ORION
02-29-2008, 08:55 PM
There have been numerous questions on this board about using pen names to entice an agent or write a book purportedly from a different background-
I don't know if the link will come through but here is a holocaust memoir that wasn't- it does sound like a cool story and I wonder why the author just didn't write it as fiction- I guess the point is, even if you write under a pen name or fudge the details- Truth will out...


http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2008/02/29/author_admits_making_up_memoir_of_surviving_holoca ust/

Susan B
02-29-2008, 09:21 PM
Yes, just read about this on "Publisher's Marketplace" and started googling. Hadn't heard of it before. So sad. I had the same thought, why not write it as a child's fantasy of trying to make sense of a truth that was terrible enough: her parents, though not Jewish, were apparently Belgian Resistance fighters who were caught and executed by the Nazis. She was sent to live with grandparents in a "bad situation." She carried the fantasies of "I'm really someone else" to an extreme, I guess.

ORION
02-29-2008, 09:30 PM
I think this could have ended up almost like life of Pi where the reader wasn't sure of the truth- I guess the idea that you can get away with writing anything in a memoir is enticing...I agree- it could have been a cool YA or children's book- or like Pan's Labyrinth...

IceCreamEmpress
02-29-2008, 09:46 PM
It's an incredibly poorly-written book as well.

And, to be honest, her real story is actually more distinctive and interesting. I'm sorry she didn't write that. I bet it would have been a better book.

Jake Barnes
03-01-2008, 12:18 AM
The story about the genealogical researcher could form the basis of interesting novel. What if she starts getting followed by neo-Nazis. A bomb is planted in her car. The author turns out to be . . . excuse me, I've got an outline to prepare.

Cranky
03-01-2008, 12:29 AM
It's an incredibly poorly-written book as well.

And, to be honest, her real story is actually more distinctive and interesting. I'm sorry she didn't write that. I bet it would have been a better book.


I agree.

ORION
03-01-2008, 02:31 AM
I guess I also have to wonder how in the world people think they can get away with it.

Cranky
03-01-2008, 02:33 AM
I guess I also have to wonder how in the world people think they can get away with it.

In this particular case, it sounds like something that more or less took on a life of it's own, so to speak. One lie leading to the next and snowballing.

Still...better not to tell the lie in the first place.

Smiling Ted
03-01-2008, 02:54 AM
Despicable.

JamieFord
03-01-2008, 04:54 AM
That's pathetic.

maestrowork
03-01-2008, 06:27 AM
Wow, people will do anything. It's so sad and pathetic.

Drama Queen
03-01-2008, 06:38 AM
The whole "raised by wolves" thing is kind of a massive red flag. She'd be talking like Nell or something. In any case, her story is very sad. I wonder what horrors she endured in her grandparent's home.

When I encounter rude, out-of-control children I usually mutter "Raised by wolves!" more as an observation of the parents' poor child-rearing skills than the child.

hammerklavier
03-01-2008, 06:04 PM
Most of them are probably false anyway (especially the political ones), this one just happened to be more false. :)

William Haskins
03-01-2008, 09:00 PM
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her best-selling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust, her lawyers said Friday.

Misha Defonseca's book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.

Her two Brussels-based lawyers, siblings Nathalie and Marc Uyttendaele, said the author acknowledged her story was not autobiographical and that she did not trek 1,900 miles as a child across Europe with a pack of wolves in search of her deported parents during World War II.

"I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed," Defonseca said, according to a written statement the lawyers gave to The Associated Press.

Defonseca, 71, now lives in Dudley, Massachusetts. Her husband, Maurice, told The Boston Globe on Thursday that she would not comment.http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/02/29/holocaust.bookhoax.ap/index.html

HeronW
03-01-2008, 09:02 PM
From CNN:

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her best-selling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust, her lawyers said Friday.

Misha Defonseca's book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.

Her two Brussels-based lawyers, siblings Nathalie and Marc Uyttendaele, said the author acknowledged her story was not autobiographical and that she did not trek 1,900 miles as a child across Europe with a pack of wolves in search of her deported parents during World War II.

"I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed," Defonseca said, according to a written statement the lawyers gave to The Associated Press.

Defonseca, 71, now lives in Dudley, Massachusetts. Her husband, Maurice, told The Boston Globe on Thursday that she would not comment.

Full story from CNN

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/02/29/holocaust.bookhoax.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Why don't I believe this?

Per Ms Defonseca, it's what she recalled as a 4 year old child? What adult over 30 remembers their life in detail at age 4? Especially 'living with wolves' and traveling with them?

I don't doubt that this woman was traumatized by losing her parents. Her relatives may have been unkind to her but this is a fraudulent tale from the getgo. It demeans millions of real horrible deaths and the sufferings of the real Jewish survivors.

If this had been a work of fiction of course it wouldn't have been a best seller. Mowgli isn't a girl, certainly isn't Jewish, and is either an opportunistic slimeball or a deeply disturbed woman who copes by lying to herself and the world.

maestrowork
03-01-2008, 09:02 PM
How much does forgiveness cost? How about all the millions she's made from her "memoir"?

ColoradoGuy
03-01-2008, 09:06 PM
I merged the simul-threads.

dpaterso
03-01-2008, 09:09 PM
Also,

ANOTHER FALSE MEMOIR
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94407
http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2008/02/29/author_admits_making_up_memoir_of_surviving_holoca ust/

-Derek

billythrilly7th
03-01-2008, 09:21 PM
A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her best-selling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves

Hey, I remember this TV show!

LucanBerg.

MattW
03-01-2008, 09:38 PM
I was raised by butterflies, and you don't see me writing a memoir.

rugcat
03-01-2008, 09:40 PM
Hey, you've got to admire someone with the marketing skill to merge the "I Survived The Holocaust" with the "I Was Raised By Wolves" memoir genres.

William Haskins
03-01-2008, 09:42 PM
plus bonus points for being a goy.

eldragon
03-01-2008, 09:54 PM
Hey, you've got to admire someone with the marketing skill to merge the "I Survived The Holocaust" with the "I Was Raised By Wolves" memoir genres.

I applaud her for not saying the wolves sexually molested her.

ColoradoGuy
03-01-2008, 10:10 PM
Hey, you've got to admire someone with the marketing skill to merge the "I Survived The Holocaust" with the "I Was Raised By Wolves" memoir genres.
Plus travelogue

dpaterso
03-01-2008, 10:15 PM
I wonder if she asked her publisher, "What do you think gave it away? Was it the wolves? You don't think it could be the wolves, do you?"

-Derek

NikeeGoddess
03-01-2008, 10:19 PM
hey - i know we just ended black history month but i must say... alex haley did it first - Roots... and it was the first week long mini-series that had millions glued to their televisions every single night. ;)

William Haskins
03-01-2008, 10:24 PM
yes, but the episode where chicken george was led from bondage by a pack of wolves indeed rang hollow.

Horseshoes
03-01-2008, 10:38 PM
When I was a munchkin, various versions of ANNA AND THE KING were kicking, then ROOTS came out. Finding out those two stories were fiction was rather one of those "What? No Easter Bunny? No Sanny Claus?" moments. All that chocolate really came from the same parents who were always warning us about sweets?

But, but, what kind of sense does that make?

As much as when they said, "Quit crying or I'll give you something to cry about."

Magdalen
03-01-2008, 10:39 PM
Dad always said, "Don't Lie. But if you have to, make it a whopper!" I don't expect the author of a memoir (these days) to be any more truthful than the average Joe (or politician) is when asked a direct question, so I am not surprised. Meh! There's a glut of memoirs out there!

IceCreamEmpress
03-01-2008, 10:52 PM
When I was a munchkin, various versions of ANNA AND THE KING were kicking, then ROOTS came out. Finding out those two stories were fiction

? Anna Leonowens really was a governess at the court of Siam (today's Thailand). The movies were quite fictionalized, but she wrote a memoir of her experiences that is apparently reasonably accurate.

Ms. Leonowens was also Boris Karloff's aunt.


As for Roots, it's not "fiction"--Kunta Kinte was an historical person, for instance. The disputed issue is whether Mr. Haley's genealogical research was accurate; later researchers have argued convincingly that Haley's findings were flawed.

And, to be fair to Haley, he does state pretty clearly that this is his imaginative re-creation of what he believed at the time to be his family history. So his being mistaken about whether these folks were his ancestors doesn't invalidate either his research into their lives, or his imaginative re-creation of their lives.

dpaterso
03-01-2008, 10:54 PM
I was a tad miffed when I read the author's note at the end of Memoirs of a Geisha.

-Derek

IceCreamEmpress
03-01-2008, 10:56 PM
I was a tad miffed when I read the author's note at the end of Memoirs of a Geisha.


Was it not marketed as a novel in the UK?

JennaGlatzer
03-01-2008, 11:09 PM
Not again.

What does happen to these people long-term, anyway? These lying writers... do they still get royalties? Do the publishers ever successfully sue them? Do they have to pay back their advances? I never hear of any financial consequences.

JennaGlatzer
03-01-2008, 11:21 PM
I merged another thread here.

While I was merging, a koala bear crawled into my window and offered to help me find my great-grandmother, who is living with Elvis in Brooklyn.

Old Hack
03-01-2008, 11:30 PM
No doubt they both ride around on Shergar every Saturday afternoon.

onlyhere
03-01-2008, 11:30 PM
This is the exact reason I ignore my sister when she brings up my writing about our lives. I just stick it in my novel as fiction and no one is the wiser.

maestrowork
03-01-2008, 11:34 PM
I was a tad miffed when I read the author's note at the end of Memoirs of a Geisha.

-Derek

I was miffed that he wasn't Japanese. The nerve!

BenPanced
03-02-2008, 03:36 AM
I applaud her for not saying the wolves sexually molested her.
That was probably in the sequel William Shatner was going to ghostwrite for her.

IceCreamEmpress
03-02-2008, 03:52 AM
I applaud her for not saying the wolves sexually molested her.

This makes me think of an amazing moment where one Holocaust fraudster "verified" the story of another; the icing on the cake was that the Holocaust fraudster had previously written a "memoir" of her "true experience" of being sexually exploited and tortured by Satanists.

Read the astonishing story here. (http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss117/lauren.htm)

benbradley
03-02-2008, 06:13 AM
That was probably in the sequel William Shatner was going to ghostwrite for her.
And I was so looking forward to TekWolf.

Komnena
03-02-2008, 06:25 AM
No doubt they both ride around on Shergar every Saturday afternoon.

Isn't he getting a bit old to ride these days?

small axe
03-02-2008, 02:42 PM
But at least she wasn't a "Holocaust DENIER" ... that's far worse on the PC outrage scale.

"Yes, terrible things happened. Humans can really suck. The wolves were nice to me, however."

MattW
03-03-2008, 02:21 AM
But at least she wasn't a "Holocaust DENIER" ...
New memoir being made into a movie starring Steve Guttenburg, Kevin Bacon, and Paul Reiser.


That's right - Holocaust Diner.