(Lawrence van Gelder)
A best-selling Holocaust memoir has been revealed to be a fake. The author was never trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Neither was she adopted by wolves who protected her from the Nazis, nor did she trek 1,900 miles across Europe in search of her deported parents or kill a German soldier in self-defense. She wasn’t even Jewish, The Associated Press reported. Misha Defonseca, 71, right, a Belgian writer living in Dudley, Mass., about 60 miles southwest of Boston, admitted through her lawyers last week that her book, “Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years,” translated into 18 language and adapted for the French feature film “Surviving With Wolves,” was a fantasy. In a statement to The Associated Press, Ms. Defonseca said: “The story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving. 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.” Ms. Defonseca, who gave her real name as Monique De Wael, said her parents were arrested and killed by Nazis for Belgian resistance activities when she was 4; she was cared for by her grandfather and uncle. She came under pressure to defend her book after Sharon Sergeant, a genealogical researcher in Waltham, Mass., said she had found clues in the unpublished United States version of the book.
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