Does Anyone Recognize These Pictures?

In August 2007 when this blog was begun it was with the hope that more information about the woman who calls herself Misha Defonseca would be made available. Below are documents that have been supplied to the author of this blog which present information previously unknown.
Research in Belgium has been guided by information found in U.S. records,
as well as information and photos included
in the original 1997 U.S. Mt Ivy Press edition of the book entitled
MISHA A Memoire of the Holocaust Years. In later
European editions, after Misha gained control of the copyright
through a lawsuit against her original publisher,
Mt Ivy Press, the photos were removed and the DeWael name
was changed to Valle.

The first French edition, Survivre avec les loups, over which Misha had
exclusive control from the beginning through an
agreement with Mt Ivy Press, was released just months after
the American edition. All French editions appeared
with a changed name and without the photos that were in
the original American edition. I believe that it was these
changes that allowed the perpetuation of one of the
longest running and most lucrative hoaxes in literary history.
Though the truth has begun to emerge, there are still missing pieces.
Here are some of the pieces that have emerged.

The time line for young Monique De Wael and her family
includes the following items.
Click on the images below to see an enlarged version. Higher resolution images are available upon request.

1937 St Gertrude's Parish, Etterbeek, Belgium Baptismal Register Extract:
Monique Ernestine Josephine De Wael; parents Robert Henri Ernest De Wael
and Josephine Germaine Barbe Donvil residing at rue Floris 58,
Schaerbeek, but originally from Anderlecht; godfather Ernest De Wael
(paternal grandfather); godmother Josephine Dillemans (maternal
Google maps link to rue Floris 58

1941 "polyphoto" pictures of Monique De Wael
1943 Primary School No 2 Register, rue Gallait 18:
Six years later, in the same neighborhood where her parents lived when
she was born, Monique De Wael, daughter of Robert De Wael, employee of
the Schaerbeek town administration and Marguerite Levy begins school.
Marguerite is the younger sister of Monique's first husband Morris Levy,
who's father was also named Morris Levy, occupation film distributor,
wife's name Germaine Reps.
Google maps link to rue Gallait 18

Above and below: 1940's photos of Monique and her paternal grandparents Ernest De Wael
and Marthe Coulon.

This is a letter I sent to Misha for which I never received a reply.

Misha Defonseca
70 Mason Road
Dudley, MA 01571
September 26, 2007

Dear Mrs. Defonseca,
We have not spoken for more than a decade but I'm sure you remember me. I am
currently writing a book about the litigation associated with the book,
Misha A Memoire of the Holocaust Years. I have come into possession of an
official document bearing your signature that raises numerous questions. I
wanted to be fair to you and give you a chance to explain certain

On this document, signed by you in 1991, you state that your mother's maiden
name was Donville, and that you were born in Etterbeek, Belgium on May 12,
1937. This indicates that you were, indeed, four years old at the time you
say you began your 3,000 mile journey, not seven as you have repeatedly

This information raises a number of other questions regarding statements you
make in the English edition, Surviving with Wolves.
1. You say that your parents were Reuven and Gerusha, but you never knew
their surname. Your father, you say, was German and your mother a Russian
Jew with an accent so thick she hid in the house to avoid being found out by
the Nazis. Why would a woman with a French maiden name speak with a thick
Russian accent?
2. You apparently were born in Etterbeek, not Brussels, yet you say that
Grandpere found you after the War from "fake" birth records for Monique
Valle in Brussels. How can this be?
3. The surname given you by the people who took you in after you lost your
parents was DeWael in the American edition, Valle in the French and U.K. editions.
Why the discrepancy?
4. In the Epilog, you say that you went to "the Town Hall" to "correct my
identity." In what town?
You have referred to yourself using all of the following names, at one time
or another:
Misha Defonseca
Misha E. Defonseca
Monique Ernestine Defonseca
Monique Valle
Monique De Wael
Misha Levy Defonseca

You seem to have begun using Levy as a middle name at the time you signed
the publishing agreement. That is your son's surname and
your first husband's surname. Why would you begin using your first husband's
name again, many years after that marriage ended and you remarried?

As you are aware there have been numerous Holocaust experts who have
questioned whether your story is a hoax. I have never seen any attempt on
your part to put their skepticism to rest, although there are documents that
could substantiate your story, if true. For instance, when you emigrated to
the U.S. you would have been required to file an Application for Immigrant
Visa and Alien Registration. The information on that form (#OF-230-I)

Family name, first name, middle name
Other names used or by which known
Date of birth, place of birth
Name of spouse
Name, date and place of birth of all children
Name of father, date and place of birth and address
Name of mother, date and place of birth and address
All the places you have lived for six months or longer over the age of

If you did not have all the information required on this form there would
have been an indication of that in processing your application. Every
immigrant at that time was required to provide this information to the U.S.
Consulate in the country of origin and to the INS (Immigration and
Naturalization Service, now Homeland Security) here. The information was
used to perform a security check and became part of your Immigrant Visa. You
were also required to supply a long form birth certificate and a valid
passport and a marriage certificate and divorce or death certificate for any
previous marriage. There is no shortage of official records that you could
use to refute allegations of fakery.

It appears that your husband, Maurice, filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on
2/15/2001, this despite the Trial Court's finding that "the Defonsecas'
three bank accounts reveal deposits between December 1996 and February 2000
of over $243,700. The evidence never made clear how, notwithstanding that
amount of deposits, the Defonsecas were claiming financial hardship, such
that their home was foreclosed upon in 2001." This figure, you will recall,
was based on evidence we provided of wire transfers into your accounts from
foreign banks, and did not included deposits you made in the U.S. A March,
1999 Boston Globe article by Steve Bailey, stated "Defonseca says she and
her husband, Maurice, are in danger of losing their home and have been
reduced to taking food from Jewish charities." You are quoted as saying that
you were reduced to eating dog food. How do you explain this in light of
your income during that period?

Before I go forward in raising these questions in my book, I would like to
give you an opportunity to address them and provide any documentation that
you feel supports your story. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Jane Daniel

1 comment:

LittleBat said...

A very just, well stated letter.

I am not surprised she never replied!

Even through tracing the variations of her story, as set out in that letter, one can see that Mischa is a fraud. Quite aside from the later evidence which has come out in the Le Soir articles.