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Another fake Holocaust memoir
Status: Literary hoaxThe Curse of Oprah Winfrey has struck again. The Curse is that anyone who appears on her show to tell about their painful yet inspiring personal history, later is revealed to be completely full of BS. People who make multiple appearances on her show are even more likely to be struck by the curse.
The latest flap is that Herman Rosenblat and his wife, who claimed to have met when he was a child in the Buchenwald concentration camp and she was a town girl who would throw food over the fence for him, made up their tale of young romance. The truth is that they first met on a blind date in New York. Rosenblat's publisher has canceled his forthcoming book, The Angel at the Fence.
I think skeptics have questioned the Rosenblat's story for a while. After all, how could a young girl possibly get close enough to the fence of Buchenwald to throw food over it? Yeah, he was in a sub-camp. But even so, it doesn't make sense.
As my wife and I were watching this story on the evening news, she asked why people like the Rosenblats don't simply publish their stories as fiction. After all, no one is denying that they're good stories and might make a great book. The answer, I guess, is that if you call a story true it has a lot more emotional power than if you call it fiction. So the Rosenblats (and other fake memoirists) are basically using a cheap trick to manipulate the emotions of readers and attract more attention to their books.
Links: BBC News, Telegraph. (Thanks to everyone who emailed me about this.)