714PZWY1V3L.gifShort version of the story: jewish girl’s parents killed by nazis, girl is raised by wolves, girl treks 1900 miles, gets in and out of the Warsaw ghetto and even manages to stab a nazi to death along the way.

Sound like bullshit? That’s because it is. She’s not Jewish, she certainly wasn’t raised by wolves, she didn’t leave Belgium…The author of ‘Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years’ admitted that her book was as little true memoir as the sun stopping for Joshua is true astronomy. Interesting, sad story that Muffti found at CNN. Kudos to North Americans where the book sold rather poorly.

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.

Defonseca wrote in her book that Nazis seized her parents when she was a child, forcing her to wander the forests and villages of Europe alone for four years. She claimed she found herself trapped in the Warsaw ghetto, killed a Nazi soldier in self-defense and was adopted by a pack of wolves that protected her.

In the statement, Defonseca acknowledged the story she wrote was a fantasy and that she never fled her home in Brussels during the war to find her parents.

Defonseca says her real name is Monique De Wael and that her parents were arrested and killed by Nazis as Belgian resistance fighters, the statement said.

“This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving,” the statement said.

“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,” the statement said.

The statement said her parents were arrested when she was 4 and she was taken care of by her grandfather and uncle. She said she was poorly treated by her adopted family, called a “daughter of a traitor” because of her parents’ role in the resistance, which she said led her to “feel Jewish.”

She said there were moments when she “found it difficult to differentiate between what was real and what was part of my imagination.”

Nathalie Uyttendaele said she and her brother contacted the author last weekend to show her material discovered by Belgian daily Le Soir, which questioned her story.

“We gave her this information and it was very difficult. She was confronted with a reality that is different from what she has been living for 70 years,” Nathalie Uyttendaele said.

Pressure on the author to defend the accuracy of her book had grown in recent weeks.

“I’m not an expert on relations between humans and wolves but I am a specialist of the persecution of Jews and they (Defonseca’s family) can’t be found in the archives,” Belgian historian Maxime Steinberg told RTL television. “The De Wael family is not Jewish nor were they registered as Jewish.”

Defonseca had been asked to write the book by U.S. publisher Jane Daniel in the 1990s, after Daniel heard the writer tell the story in a Massachusetts synagogue.

Daniel and Defonseca fell out over profits received from the best-selling book, which led to a lawsuit. In 2005, a Boston court ordered Daniel to pay Defonseca and her ghost writer Vera Lee $22.5 million.

Lee, of Newton, Massachusetts, said she was shocked to hear Defonseca made up the story.

“She always maintained that this was truth as she recalled it, and I trusted that that was the case,” Lee said.

Defonseca’s lawyers said Daniel has not yet paid the court-ordered sum.

Daniel said Friday she would try to get the judgment overturned. She said she could not fully research Defonseca’s story before it was published because the woman claimed she did not know her parents’ names, her birthday or where she was born.

“There was nothing to go on to research,” she said.

About the author

grandmuffti

27 Comments

  • Corrective understanding of history.. happens all too often as our egos / self-concepts / psyches try to place us in history the way we want to be perceived.

  • What!? An autobiography that isn’t really true!??, Well, I never! 😉
    I actually like the idea of this story. It sounds like great fiction for kids, I only wish the author hadn’t tried to pass it off as actual fact.
    I know I’m a little biased because I rather like wolves, and there are so many European myths and fairy tales inaccurately demonizing them that it’s nice to have a story that makes them look good.

  • Anyway, children raised by dogs have severe, severe cognitive impairment, as they never learn language or human socialization and can never really learn it once they are taken back to live with humans. (This has actually happened, at least according to the Discovery channel, a few separate cases of children in Eastern Europe whose parents abandoned them ended up living with a pack of dogs) So THAT’S how you could know the story wasn’t true, if she were raised by wolves she wouldn’t know anything about nazis or her parents…

  • PoorRemus, the victim of history’s first mafia hit. They were truly Italian avant la lettre.

  • Had he been content with staying in Alba Longa and let Romulus move, we’d just have a legend serving as an excuse for possible bellicose activities on the Appenine Peninsula, so suppose we should be glad they’d resolved matters right away.

  • LOL at that Onion article!
    Although you could walk down a street in NYC on any given day & find more than a few folks who’ve been raised by wolves…
    At least, they have that whole “marking their territory” thing down pretty good…

  • Ephraim wrote,

    “Ummmmm…..the sun didn’t stand still for Joshua?”

    No, Ephraim, it didn’t, and there is no fucking Easter Bunny either. Any other fantasies you want dispelled this motzei shabbos, Ephraim? Cause I am here muchan u’mazuman to set your fundie-ass straight.

  • Of course, assuming you’re being serious.

    I’m talking to the Muffti man. Get a clue.

  • Ephraim, be nice, please.

    Today’s coffee & cake event for those of us too, hmmmm, chronologically advanced to join the Festival. I’ve already baked a lemon cake.

  • Froylein, don’t you think you should be addressing that to DK? He’s the one who started slinging the F bomb.

    In this thread at least, anyway.

  • Ephraim, you’re superior to him in age though. Your reaction should reflect your wisdom. 😉

    And DK’s a nice one; don’t blame him for not getting the humorous tone – there are studies that suggest that 40% of emails are not perceived in that tone by the reader as the writer intended to write them in, so I suppose that also translates to any realm of communication where neither mimics, nor gestures nor intonation tell you what to expect.

  • Muffti’s glad someone noticed that one tucked in their. Ephraim, the sun staying in the sky would require the earth to turn more slowly, the earth to turn at a different angle or the sun to start moving along with the earth in very weird ways that would kill all life on earth. Muffti is pretty sure non of these happened…even if some kinda creepy book assures us that it did on account of the need to kill retreating forces.

    There is more likely an easter bunny. At least the basic astronomical laws don’t get violated by that one. Maybe only teh zoological ones 🙂

  • Question to all, if you eat chocolate Easter bunnies (I saw there are ones with a hechsher), do you start with the ears or the bottom?

  • Did you all see that email with the slideshow thing with satellite pics of the sun/darkness on different places on earth? That was really cool.

    With bunnies you have to start with the ears, I think. Then he can’t hear you coming the next time you come to chomp his head off. It’s more humane. If you start with the bottom, he knows you’re coming but can’t hop away, and that’s very mean.

  • See this article.
    SOURCE http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/2008030420080304holmem.html

    Author’s faked Holocaust memoir sparks concerns about consequences

    Boston (JTA) March 4, 2008 – The author of the memoir “Misha,” who wrote that she lived with a pack of wolves after the Nazis abducted her parents, recently disclosed that the book was not true.
    By Penny Schwartz Published: 03/04/2008

    BOSTON (JTA) — In the wake of the recent disclosure by the author of a Holocaust memoir that her best-selling book is a fake, historians are worried that such incidents will cast doubt on legitimate Holocaust scholarship and memoirs. MORE: http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/2008030420080304holmem.html

Leave a Comment