In a recessionary wartime, we need a little love story. There is one that has appeared in the “Chicken Soup for The Soul” series. And many were anticipating it in February 2009, when Penguin Berkley is set to publish Angel At The Fence: The True Story Of A Love That Survivedby Herman Rosenblat, a retired television repairman and Holocaust survivor who lives in Miami,Florida.

False Memory?

False Memory?

Mr. Rosenblatt, a friend of Oprah (not OFrah,) has written a memoir about how he and his brothers were sent to the Schlieben Labor Camp a part of Buchenwald, in Germany during WWII, and how a young nine year old Jewish girl, who was passing as Christian, would meet a teenage Herman at a fence and bring him food and an apple for 7 months. After the war, as the story goes, a miracle occurred on the streets of Brooklyn, when he was fixed up on a blind date with Roma Radzicki, a Polish immigrant (by way of Germany, I suppose). It turns out she is the girl who gave him the apples. They married and the rest is history.

Problem is that The New Republic has published a story today that asserts that the story and memory are false. Gabriel Sherman writes that an increasing number of prominent Holocaust scholars say the story could not have happened. He writes, “Though archival records show that Herman was interned in concentration camps during the war, scholars who are investigating the story believe that the central premise of his narrative–that a girl met him at the fence and that very girl became his wife–is, at the very least, an embellishment, and at worst, a wholesale fabrication.”

Oh well… at least I got my Hanukkah candles and that miracle.

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  • In the TNR article, the last graf sums it up well:

    “Before our conversation ended, Harris Salomon the movie producer of the book/movie of Herman’s tale, told me that I should go see ”The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, a new film that, like Herman’s tale, tells the story of a young boy at a concentration camp who befriends a German boy on the other side of the fence. I pointed out to Salomon that ”The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is based on a novel.

    EGGSACTLy! this is what this story is really all about. If the ANGEL AT FENCE story was presented as FICTION, it would make a great fiction story about the H-caust,,,i Cannot even bring myself to mention that word……so as fiction it woulda been okay. But as a memoir, Waller and Lipstall have good points to make. Maybe the Berkley publisehr should have vetted the story better BEFORE all this? I gotta feeling the book will now be cancelled. ANd to think this article appeared in the TNR on Christmas Day. Does that mean anything? I hope not…..

  • OOOOh, Oprah is gonna turn Rosenblatt into “a million little pieces”. She is going to sic Shmuel Boteach on him. If that book is false he is going to wish he was back in the Camp by the time she gets done with him.

  • hoe can you people say this? the biggest point is all of these so called experts who are trying to discredit herman have not even read the book. doesnt that seem a bit absurd. if they have questions fine, but at least they should read the book. seems like they have some ax to grind. i dont think they like this story because it candy coats the message of the holocaust.

  • “Jacob’s Courage” is a story about the Holocaust that is 98% fiction, with no promises that it “was real.” It is nonetheless a passionate coming-of-age love story, set within the abyss of the Holocaust. Read some of the reviews here

    Genocide cannot be described without inflicting horror upon the reader. Such books are not for the faint of heart. Yet, if one is to search for an understanding of human nature, then one must descend into the depths of depravity and terror. One cannot understand humanity without comprehending its wicked flaws. But, deep within the recesses of such torture, the reader will discover the faint flicker of light representing love, passion, desire, hope and worship. The human spirit strives for liberty and freedom, as well. Here is the essence of “Jacob’s Courage” – an examination of that faint flicker of light, in the midst of the dark whirlwind of malevolence.

    This book is available through all major booksellers.

  • ken: there’s a message to the holocaust? really? like what? that there is no limit to man’s capacity to perpetrate evil? i could have done without the holocaust to learn that lesson. the history of the jews would have been enough. there is no valuable lesson to be discerned from the holocaust.

  • Susan, the people who outed this author were Holocaust scholars whose evidence and information about what happened in these camps is so clear and detailed that they were able to know the position of the fence and to determine that his story couldn’t be true. Sorry to disappoint you. Maybe if you graduate from high school in your next life, you won’t say stupid and ignorant things in public.

  • I am past graduating high school, I am almost done with a psychology major. One question, with the question of if the Holocaust really did happen being so much up in the air, why would Holocaust scholars even want to put more doubt in peoples’ minds as to the honesty of Holocaust survivors? I could write a major essay on facts that point to the fact that the Holocaust is not what people made it out to be; however, I do not show that kind of disrespect. I was just making a point..why would a person build a lie on another lie..evenutally they would get caught!

  • This, actually, is a great embarrassment for the supposedly academic institution you’re aiming at obtaining your degree from.

  • Susan, it’s precisely because they are scholars that they expose these lies when anybody, be they Holocaust survivors or not, tell them. There’s plenty of horror in the truthful facts. Any time somebody lies or misrepresents these facts, they actually feed the minds of fools like you and Holocaust scholars know this.

    These scholars also expose the people who feed fools like you with misinformation. If you really are at a university earning a degree, you might want to check out the library some time. That’s the building with books inside it. There you will find many books to educate you about what the Nazis did. Have a librarian – those are the people who work in libraries – help you find books under the topic Holocaust or Holocaust, Jewish. Start reading something other than the garbage you’ve been reading on the internet.

  • What does my academic degree have to do with freedom of speech? My opinions do not make me ignorant, they make up my self-concept. I know exactly what a library is, I spend many hours in one; however, a library is where I got some of my facts!
    It does not take much to put 2 and 2 together. Take for example, the Nazis did not even have gas to fly their planes with, much less to use for anything else, so how could they burn anything.
    My grandmother was from Germany during WWII, and I have heard quite a few stories from her. So, all my facts are not based on books in the library or the internet, they are based on somebody who actually lived in Germany.

  • Is he reimbursing the money to the people who bought his book believing that it was real? That was just sooo wrong to do, and people wonder why people think like they do.