Lying Holocaust Author Says He's Sorry, Keeps Movie
After seeing the release of his memoir cancelled, Herman Rosenblat apologized, saying he lied about a girl tossing apples over the fence of his concentration camp because he wanted "to bring happiness to people."
To all who supported and believed in me and this story, I am sorry for all I have caused to you and every one else in the world.
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.
Producer Harris Salomon said he was going forward with his film based on Rosenblat's book, simply labeling it fiction and donating all proceeds to Holocaust survivor charities. Meh, we'll see how long that plan lasts. Good luck keeping the investors together.
Rosenblats' son knew all along, according to the New Republic, the first publication to write about the fabrications:
Ken told me by phone that he had in fact known of his parents' lie for many years but hadn't been able to stop them. "My father is a man who I don't know. I can't understand it. It's not my way of thinking," Ken said. "I didn't agree with it. I didn't want anything to do with it. I tried to just stay away from it. It was always hurtful. I just never dealt with it."
The publisher of the book is a unit of Penguin, the same company that put out Margaret Sletzer's fake autobiography. The company went ahead with this one even though the ghostwriter thought at least one anecdote in the story was "far fetched," as she told the Times, and even though another Holocaust memoir was found fabricated just this year.
Even Motoko Rich is getting a little bitchy about this lapse. With Joseph Berger, she wrote in the Times article:
That so many would get taken in by Mr. Rosenblat's inauthentic love story seems incredible given the number of fake memoirs that have come to light in the last few years... This latest literary hoax is likely to trigger yet more questions as to why the publishing industry has such a poor track record of fact-checking.
More to the point, an increasing number of book buyers are just going to assume that the label "nonfiction" is meaningless, which is a fairly rational way of reacting to these scandals.
One of the remaining questions: Was Rosenblat's wife in on the deception? She appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show with him, but it's possible she was taken in: Rosenblat said he reunited with her after she told him she had hurled apples to a boy over a concentration camp fence. Rosenblat claimed he was that boy.