… will that help me think of a better post title?

Probably not, but you may remember Muffti’s post on Misha Defonseca who’d tried to pass off her book about a child whose parents fell victim to the Holocaust and then grew up with wolves as her autobiography.

There’s a little update on the case as Defonseca’s publisher Jane Daniel tried to sue her, but the case was dismissed as the publisher had failed to sue within a year’s time. That alone wouldn’t be quite so bad if mud slinging aftermaths weren’t to be expected.

Defonseca, 71, of Dudley, acknowledged in February that she never lived with wolves to escape the Nazis, never killed a German soldier in self-defense and never walked 3,000 miles across Europe in search of her parents. She also admitted that she isn’t even Jewish. She said that her book was a fantasy that she kept repeating.

“The poor, poor Holocaust survivor and the evil publisher who had victimized her – that’s how it was characterized in the trial, and that’s what’s being allowed to stand,” Daniel said yesterday.

“This decision is discounting that that had an all-pervasive effect on the outcome of the trial,” she said.

Neither Defonseca nor Lee could immediately be reached for comment.

In earlier interviews, Defonseca and Lee said the truth of the 1997 book had no bearing on the jury’s finding that Daniel cheated them out of profits.

“It has nothing to do with that,” Defonseca said in an August interview.

Daniel’s lawyer, Joseph Orlando, said he plans to appeal the ruling.

[Full article]

In my opinion, the plethora of Holocaust autobiographies and semi-autobiographies is important lest the Holocaust will become a matter of statistics once all survivors have passed away. Those books add a personal, human side to the most unimaginable human catastrophy of all times. And they give the victims a chance to have their voices heard.

But I also believe that fake Holocaust autobiographies, posing as a survivor, trying to earn cash revenue from forged stories are cynical, morbid and in a way dishonouring the memory of those that really suffered. As much as any decent person shouldn’t make up such stories, I think a publisher could be expected to double-check the facts and, in case of doubt, not sell the book as an autobiography. The actual victims of fraud in this case are the customers that bought the book – and those Holocaust survivors whose written heritage has suffered loss of credibility thanks to such scams, intended or whatnot.

About the author



  • Muffti has to agree with the final sentiment. he likes what defonseca had to say herself:

    “It’s not the true reality, but it is my reality. There are times when I find it difficult to differentiate between reality and my inner world.”

    This is clearly a woman in need of a metaphysics class.

  • No, she needs to see a shrink or be institutionalized.

    I’m pretty sure that a person who cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality is meshugga.

    But, hey, a fair number of peole think that a pre-existing, independent nation-state called “Palestine” (which had existed since time immemorial with its capital in Jerusalem and had been inhabited by a specific group of people who had always been known as “Palestinians”, with their own distinct language, religion, culture, and traditions) was destroyed in order to make way for Israel.

    So she’s in pretty good company, I guess.