29 December 2008

Penguin Cancels "Angel at the Fence"

The tale of an enduring love found during the Holocaust was, shall we say, a lie.

Herman Rosenblat, who claimed that he met his wife, Roma, while he was imprisoned at a Buchenwald sub-camp, when she would approach the camp’s fence to give him apples and bread, has ‘fessed up. He’s said that he “embellished” his story. In reality, it turns out that Roma’s family was 210 miles away from the camp were Rosenblat was interred.

His publisher has canceled Rosenblat’s book on the story.

When scholars and survivors expressed doubt about Rosenblat’s tale because of the camp’s layout—there was no place private enough where he could receive Roma’s gifts—he defended his experiences’ veracity. Last month:

He said that his section of Schlieben, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, was not well guarded and that he could stand between a barracks and the six-to-eight-foot fence out of sight of guards. Roma was able to approach him because there were woods that would have concealed her. (NYT)

It seems as though all possible factcheckers, excpeting the scholars and those who survived the camps with Rosenblat, went to sleep on this one. His agent, Angela Hurst, believed Rosenblat’s story, and declined to research his tale, because “He was in so many magazines and books and on ‘Oprah.’ It did not seem like it would not be true” (NYT).

Well, that’s okay then.

UPDATE: Lerner Publishing Group has pulled its children's book based on the Rosenblats. Published this fall, Laurie Friedman's Angel Girl is being taken from store shelves, and Lerner is offering refunds to people who purchased the book.

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