Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Angel At The Fence - A Hoax

Another memoir due to be published in February of 2009 and in line to be chosen by Oprah Winfrey as a future Oprah Book Club choice has turned out to be a hoax. "Angel At The Fence - The True Story Of A Love That Survived" is not a true story after all, according to the author who was forced to admit his duplicity after investigative reporters did fact-checking (which most agree should have been done by the publisher) and family members denounced the tale as fiction.

This is a second literary disappointment for Ms. Winfrey, who in earlier on-air interviews with the author reportedly called this "...the single greatest love story ... we've ever told on the air.", following the January 2006 revelation that James Frey's memoir (one of her Book Club choices) was a lie.

Berkley Books has canceled plans to publish the supposed holocaust memoir and author Herman Rosenblat will be required to return the advance he received.

I know publishers love the heck out of these "memoir" books because they usually sell much better than fiction, but, really, they're going to have to start vetting supposed memoir submissions with more diligence than they have displayed in the past.

2 comments:

Christina said...

The Rosenblat story is so sad. Why is Atlantic Pictures making a film based on a lie? Why didn't Oprah check the story out before publicizing it, especially after James Frey and given that many bloggers like Deborah Lipstadt said in 2007 that the Rosenblat's story couldn't be true.
Genuine love stories from the Holocaust do exist. My favorite is the one about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt - the beautiful young art student who painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the children's barracks at Auschwitz to cheer them up. This painting became the reason Dina and her Mother survived Auschwitz. After the end of the war, Dina applied for an art job in Paris. Unbeknownst to Dina, her interviewer was the lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They fell in love and got married. It's such a romantic love story. Another reason I love Dina's story is the tremendous courage she had to paint the mural in the first place. Painting the mural for the children caused her to be taken to Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but bravely she stood up to Mengele and he made her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber.

Dina's story is also verified to be true. Some of the paintings she did for Mengele in Auschwitz survived the war and are at the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. The story of her painting the mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the children's barrack has been corroborated by many other Auschwitz prisoners, and of course her love and marriage to the animator of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the Disney movie after the war in Paris is also documented.

Why wasn't the Rosenblatt's story checked out before it was published and picked up to have the movie made?? I would like to see true and wonderful stories like Dina's be publicized, not these hoax tales that destroy credibility and trust.

The Word Of Jeff said...

Christina,

Thanks for the great comment!

I am thrilled that 3 of the greatest comic book industry icons, Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Stan Lee have collaborated on a graphic booklet telling her story.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/arts/design/09comi.html?_r=1

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