December 28, 2008 | 11:42 pm
Posted by Book Buzz
The recent news about the memoir by Herman Rosenblat, “Angel at the Fence,” being canceled is a major disappointment to, movie producer, agent, Oprah fans and the Jewish community. Rosenblat said he met his wife while a prisoner at a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Turns out, the love story isn’t so lovely.
Andrea Hurst, Rosenblats agent, said in a statement: “It is with heavy heart that I share what I learned today from my client, Herman Rosenblat, about his book, ‘Angel at the Fence.’ Herman revealed to me that part of his memoir was not true. He’d invented the crux of this amazing love story–about the girl at the fence who threw him an apple–which drew my attention when I read it in a major magazine [Guideposts] two years ago. All of the story about Herman in the concentration camps and the love and survival of him and his brothers, he states is true. I understand why Berkley has chosen to withdraw publication of this book. Like millions of others who read this story or saw Herman and Roma on Oprah, I never for a moment questioned the authenticity of the widely circulated story. I know that everyone who has worked so hard with Herman this past year is as stunned and disappointed as I am that this story of hope has such a sad ending.”
One must wonder why a person chooses to fabricate something about the Holocaust? Through Ms. Hurst, Mr. Rosenblat released a statement, “Why did I do that and write the story with the girl and the apple, because I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world.”
“Berkley will demand that the author and the agent return all money that they have received for this work,” said Berkley Books (unit of Penguin Books) spokesman Craig Burke in a statement release by Reuters.
Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, denied the story months ago. She even publishes an e-mail exchange with Harris Solomon, producer of the proposed Rosenblat film.
According to many news organizations, The New Republic released one of the first stories about the books cancellation.
Although this latest stain on the Jewish community is bad, fabricating memoirs is not uncommon. Ruters mentions here, that, “in 2006, U.S. author James Frey admitted he had fabricated key parts of his drug and alcohol memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” the top selling non-fiction book in the United States in 2005. In February, Misha Defonseca admitted most of her bestselling autobiography, which told of a young Jewish girl saved by wolves while hiding from the Nazis in wartime Europe, was made up. “Love and Consequences,” a memoir by a Margaret B. Jones about a mixed-raced girl growing up in a gang-ridden neighborhood of Los Angeles, was revealed to be a fabrication and distributed copies of the book recalled this year.”
These continuous oversights mean that authors, publishers, movie and television producers and agents should all be more careful.
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