Another Letter from a Reader

Dear Jane,

My name is Karen Schulman. I am speaking out because I want to share my first-hand experiences with Misha Defonseca and her husband, Maurice.

Misha and her husband lived with me in my home in Milford, Massachusetts for two and a half years. I had heard Misha speak publicly about her amazing experiences during the Holocaust at Borders Bookstore and at a performance at Holliston High School of the play, The Diary of Ann Frank. I was very touched by her story.

I had worked in the department of nursing, telemetry and progressive care unit of Milford Regional Medical Center as a medical secretary and then at the CVS in Medway. One day a neighbor of the Defonsecas came in to fill a prescription. We struck up a conversation and the neighbor said, “Do you know what’s happened to them? They’re about to lose their house to foreclosure.” I was shocked. I phoned the Defonseca’s and Maurice answered the phone. He confirmed what I had been told and added that they had no money and didn’t know what to do. I offered to allow them the use of a wing in my large house consisting of four rooms and a bath until they could get on their feet again. They moved in on June 6, 2001, along with 24 cats and two dogs.

(left, damage to floor caused by cat urine and mold) I didn’t ask for any payment but Misha insisted on giving $500 a month. Misha never helped with any of the housework. They used my kitchen. Misha’s son and his future wife stayed at my house when they came for a visit. Misha wanted them to sleep in the backyard but I didn’t think it was appropriate in my neighborhood for them to camp out. They ended up sleeping on my dining room floor among all the boxes that belonged to Misha.

Maurice had a job in Hopkinton. I allowed him to use my car to drive to work and filled the tank for him. I also drove Misha on errands. I wined and dined them, took them out to dinner often and always paid the tab. At one time I accompanied Misha to Bloomingdales when she spent $250 to $300 on make-up. Once on a shopping trip I saw her hide things she had not paid for under her real purchases and take them from the store. I was so stunned that I questioned if I had actually seen it.

Delivery trucks arrived frequently delivering packages of goods Misha had ordered. I wondered how they could afford these things but assumed that Maurice was making good money in his job in an engineering company.

(left, a few of about a dozen litter boxes) Misha used to say “People are no good” and “Americans are stupid.” “Stupid Americans, stupid Americans,” she said it all the time. She said her son couldn’t qualify for higher education in Belgium where educational standards were high but he could get into a college in the US because the American schools had lower academic standards.

I have known many Holocaust survivors. Misha was very different! For one thing, she didn’t understand any of the Yiddish words I used. When I asked her why, she said her mother never taught her Yiddish. She said, “Hiltler took my first family away” and that’s why she needed so many animals. Misha had a bas mitzvah, I believe in Holliston, and learned to speak Hebrew and to chant from the Torah.

Eventually I got fed up. My friend Barbara Beattie, who also had been taken in by the Defonsecas, urged me to see a lawyer to get them out of my home. When I told them to leave they were angry. How could you do this to us, they demanded.

(left, cat urine damage to rugs) When they finally left, on November 30, 2003, I had $17,000 to $18,000 worth of damage to contend with. I had to have the hardwood floors taken up and replaced because they were saturated with cat urine. I had to remove the wallpaper and carpeting because of cat spray and have the whole area painted. I replaced whole windows that were broken. After they left I learned that they had not lost their home to foreclosure as they claimed, they sold it for $325,000. I learned they were not destitute either. In 2001 when I took them in Maurice earned $70,000 from his job (this figure was on a bankruptcy filing Maurice made.) From my house they moved to their new home in Dudley and paid cash for it, $190,000, plus two brand new cars.

In closing I would say that Misha and Maurice are very manipulative and deceitful. They know exactly how to get what they want from soft hearted people. I feel cheated, exploited, disrespected and abused.


Karen Schulman


Letters from Readers....

Readers may be interested in these letters that appeared about the Defonseca saga in the Globe:


Taken in by a Holocaust memoir
March 7, 2008

AS A chronicler of Holocaust memoirs, I read the saga of Misha Defonseca and publisher Jane Daniel with interest and more than a little apprehension ("Den of lies," Living/Arts, March 1).
It is indeed difficult if not impossible to even check on, let alone determine, the veracity of the stories of Holocaust survivors. Nazi records, if there is anything of relevance in them regarding individual survivors, are only just now beginning to come out, as in the case of the recently released Bad Arolsen archives. Often, one has little to rely on besides an occasional lucky link between available records and a traumatized, and perhaps somewhat compromised, elderly memory. Exaggeration, embellishment, and fabrication, which can and do exist in any interviewing, always end disastrously, as we see in this saga, which even drew in the likes of Elie Wiesel.

Thus, going into the collecting process with hope for monetary success is ambiguous at best and futile at worst. Yes, Daniel has expenses and business concerns. But in most cases, documenting the memoirs of others does not result in financial gain. Certainly with regard to atrocities such as the Holocaust, the preservation of memories holds other rich rewards for both the teller and the scribe, but most authors know to keep their day jobs.

The writer, a journalist for the Jewish Advocate, is the author of "I Refused to Die: Stories of Boston-Area Holocaust Survivors and Soldiers who Liberated the Concentration Camps of World War II" and "Jewish Life in Postwar Germany"


Misguided view on veracity of Holocaust memories
March 18, 2008
SUSIE DAVIDSON'S assertion that it is is misguided and should not remain unchallenged ("Taken in by a Holocaust memoir," Letters, March 7). It is also not true that Nazi records "are only just now beginning to come out." Archives have been available in Germany and elsewhere for decades to validate the roundups and deportation of Jews from particular communities in Europe.
Expecting witnesses who tell of their ordeals on transports and in camps to offer proof that they were in a particular ghetto or camp is like Swiss bank officials demanding that children of survivors whose parents had been gassed furnish copies of the death certificates.
But most disturbing is Davidson's claim that, when interviewing Holocaust survivors, about all we have to rely on is "a traumatized, and perhaps somewhat compromised, elderly memory." As someone who has spent more than a decade interviewing Holocaust survivors, I have found the exact reverse to be true.
Misha Defonseca's book is so full of confirmable historical errors that on that basis alone it was possible for informed readers to recognize that her narrative could not be true.

West Newton
The writer is the author of "Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory."


Statements regarding verification of Holocaust stories still ring true

I stand by my assertions that were taken to task by Lawrence Langer ("Misguided view on veracity of Holocaust memories," Letters, March 18). My statement that Langer quoted, "it is difficult if not impossible to even check on, let alone determine, the veracity of the stories of Holocaust survivors," concerns, as it states, survivors' actual stories, rather than the Nazi deportation archives Langer mentions (which I have seen, some in actuality, in Germany).
Langer analogizes my statements on lack of supporting documentation to my asking the survivors I have interviewed to furnish proof. I have never done such a thing; to the contrary, over the past several years, I have organized public events, always sold my books at cost, charged no speaker fee though I invited and paid other supporting speakers, and, most importantly, publicly read these stories in forums ranging from the Boston Public Library to myriad bookstores, classrooms, synagogues, senior and veterans' centers in an effort to spread awareness of the bravery of these people during the terrible times they lived through.
Yes, I have taken these dear souls at their word. That does not mean I believe that every word is inscribed, and I'm sure the survivors wouldn't either. No memory is perfect. Trauma is affecting. Although I have done my best to verify what survivors in my books have told me, feel that the stories are true, like Langer am highly impressed at their ability to recount their tales, and wholly believe in their sincerity and honesty, I am not afraid to state that I would never take credit for 100 percent, iron-clad verifiability.



To: letter@globe.com
Subject: Records, as well as memory, can indeed be fallible
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 18:37:07 +0000

I beg to differ with Lawrence Langer. First, I have a hard time believing that Nazi records released thus far have been all that forthcoming, let alone totally forthright. Second, the sheer breadth of fallout from the deception of Misha DeFonseca alone speaks for the need to be as careful as Susie Davidson has been in her books.
I recently saw a local public television show try to deal with having had a World War II soldier on the preview hour to Ken Burns' documentary "The War", telling tall tales about his bravery that were soon unveiled as fabrication. This and DeFonseca's book have certainly not been the only instances of unintentional publication and broadcasting of fraudulent or incorrect memoirs in the media, because, as Davidson said, memory, as well as recordkeeping, are not always correct.
As the nephew and namesake of one of the navigators of the Exodus 1947, whose own story few would believe if it weren't true, I appreciate writers like Davidson who make the effort to verify, admit they can be fallible, and do their work for no personal gain.



I REPRESENTED Misha Defonseca in litigation against Jane Daniel. I worked closely with Defonseca for more than six years. I learned that her memoir was a fabrication when her statement was published in the Globe.
The article cites Lawrence L. Langer as expressing outrage that anyone could exploit the Holocaust for profit. Langer, an authority on the subject, goes so far as to compare them to Holocaust deniers. I think this is an unfortunate overstatement.
The irony is that Defonseca's real story seems to be even more compelling than the fabrication. According to the researcher who uncovered the truth, her parents were Catholic members of the Belgian resistance who were captured and killed by Nazis. It is one thing to belong to a group targeted for oppression or genocide and something quite different to choose to align yourself with such a group and share its fate. Whatever our beliefs about our own integrity or moral fiber, there are few among us who would make that choice once we have assumed the obligations of parenthood.
Defonseca's parents were among this rarest sort of human. Their daughter paid a horrible price for that choice. (Note: Ms. Hamblin is incorrect about this. According to the article written by Marc Metdapenningen and published in Le Soir, Defonseca's father was a traitor and Gestapo collaborator who died a natural death.)



WE AT Wolf Hollow were saddened by the revelation that Misha Defonseca's incredible memoir was an elaborate hoax. Upon meeting her in 1996, we were awed by her story. We were aware of many documented cases of children raised by animals, including chimpanzees, apes, and indeed wolves. Wolves live in packs that mirror our own human families, and are considered the most socially complex nonprimate mammal. In our talks with Defonseca, she demonstrated an intimate knowledge of wolf behavior. Who would not want to believe such a heartwarming story in the midst of one of mankind's darkest times?
We became close friends with Defonseca, subsequently holding book signings and hosting a film crew from "The Oprah Winfrey Show." We spoke of her when visitors to Wolf Hollow would ask of the validity of tales of wolf-raised children, and even named a wolf puppy Misha. Readers can imagine how shocked we are now.
For someone to feel the need to create such a story in lieu of reality is the truly sad story. Despite the deception, the Misha that we knew is a warm woman and an advocate for animals, and we trust that that much is still true.

Assistant director Wolf Hollow

AFTER READING this story, I was speechless. I have known Misha Defonseca since 1988, when she and her family moved to Millis, and we became close friends. I truly believed her story, and supported her efforts in writing her memoirs.
One speech she gave stands out in my mind, a night at Brandeis. Several hundred students, faculty, friends, and true Holocaust survivors gathered to hear her story, and many tears were shed as the story unfolded. Holocaust survivors in attendance that evening called out the names of the death camps they were in, and a moment of silence was observed. This experience will live in my memory forever.
I feel so betrayed, yet my heart is broken for the true Holocaust survivors she used to promote her lies. When her book was published, I felt honored that she put my name in it, and now I am ashamed. I want no association with the lies.


March 23, 2008 4:47 PM



Genealogist Sharon Sergeant on Her Process

Sharon Sergeant has released the preliminary case study provided to her
research team on January 5, 2008 leading to the February exposure of
Misha Defonseca's true identity and confession in Belgium.

Sergeant says

"For more than a decade, historians had focussed on the implausibility
of the Defonseca popular allegory. We took a page from Pulitizer Prize
historian David Hackett Fischer's early work 'Historians' Fallacies' for
the process of Inquiry, Explanation and Argument and applied it to the
entire body of work created as a result of Defonseca's storytelling: her
public appearances and interviews, various book versions and the many

We found many problems with previous inquiries. Question framing,
factual verification and significance were definitely lacking.
Explanations were generalized and narrations were all tainted by the
basic inquiry. Cause and effect, motivations, composition of the
information and analogies were all over the board.

Highly charged emotional issues were given undue proportion, distracting
the inquiries from actually testing theories against the facts.

We were thus able to frame the inquiry in the search for the factual
evidence trail by asking "What is wrong with this picture?"

I presented these findings to my team on January 5, 2008.

Sergeant will also present how her team used this preliminary analysis
to find the proof trail for Misha Defonseca's true identity at the
Massachusetts Genealogical Seminar on April 26th at Bentley College in
Waltham, MA.


Thanks and Explanations from Jane Daniel

Publisher, Mt Ivy Press

I’d like thank the thousands of readers of this blog for taking the time to examine the words I have written and the documents I have posted here. Visitors have come from all over the world, from Japan to Australia to Denmark to Thailand and a score of other countries, and many more from Belgium, France and the U.S., and they just keep pouring in.

As many of you know, over the last several days a firestorm has erupted over the confession by Misha Defonseca that her book, MISHA A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, was a hoax. Originally published in the U.S. by my company, Mt Ivy Press, and later to become an international bestseller and the subject of a French movie, the hoax has survived for an astounding two decades.

In the past week, I have been interviewed by the media and contacted informally by people asking for explanations. Several issues in particular get raised over and over, so I’d like to respond to a couple of them here.

The first question goes like this: Why did you publish the book when you knew it was not, or might not be, true? Did you do it because you “smelled the money”?

The second question also revolves around the subject of money, and it goes: When you and your company were sued, the court found that Mt Ivy had hidden money in an offshore account and failed to pay Misha and her ghostwriter, Vera Lee, their royalties. What do you say to that?

The two get lumped together into this notion: Irrespective of what we now know about Misha’s wrongdoing, based on the court’s findings, the publisher must also have done something bad to get hit with a $33 million judgment. In other words, where there’s smoke there’s fire.

I’ll begin with the first question, Why publish when the story might be fake?

Historically, publishers rely on the author’s warranty that all statements of fact are true (see warranty clause from Mt Ivy Press’ publishing agreement on this blog) and by custom there has been little or no obligation on the part of the publisher to vet the manuscript, other than superficially, before publication. There is a good reason for this convention. A publisher may decide to print a book entitled “I Was a Space Alien’s Love Slave”, without a disclaimer as to the tale’s authenticity. Or the book may be more serious, such as “I Was Illegally Targeted by the C.I.A.”, a topic that may be impossible to authenticate if matters of national security are involved.

The publisher tosses a book out into the marketplace and the public is entrusted with the freedom to decide whether to buy it, or to read it, or whether or not to believe it. The system represents the ultimate power to the people and, given the rash of fake autobiographies (such as the whopper told by Margaret “Jones”, published by Penguin) that have recently been exposed, the arrangement works well.

Now, let’s consider the Misha book. According to Slate Magazine, Misha Defonseca had been polishing her invented persona since as early as 1989. At the time I met her in 1994 she had been warmly embraced by the local Jewish community and I, like millions of others to follow, fell under her spell.

Contrary to some people’s assumptions, I did do extensive research in preparing the manuscript for publication as I have earlier recounted on this blog. But, remember, I had no personal information to go on. I had no name, no date or place of birth, no names of anyone who knew the woman who said she had been given a “false” identity when her parents were arrested by the Nazis in 1941. Everyone said there was no way to verify this story. Should that have been a red flag? Not necessarily. My research showed that children who lost their families in war not infrequently lost their identities as well. What if Misha's story of being a "lost child" had been true? Few would suggest that she should have been barred from telling it in print because it could not be verified.

In adopting the persona of an innocent Jewish child, one of the Holocaust’s most heartbreaking victims, Misha had devised a nearly perfect disguise. In her new role as Holocaust survivor, she wrapped herself in a Teflon mantle of moral superiority that few dared to challenge lest they be accused of being anti-Semitic.

How do we know this? Because in Belgium, several who publicly spoke out against her were accused of just that. Serge Aroles, a Belgian surgeon, has divulged that he was so labeled for questioning her account of living with wolves. Le Meuse reported that one of Misha’s childhood friends who tried to alert the media that the story was false was told that she was “jealous” and that she was “playing with fire” for “mocking another person’s misery.” In this country, in more than a decade, only two American journalists publicly questioned Misha’s truthfulness, but neither offered a scrap of concrete evidence to support their views.

In fact, there is a new post on this blog from Marc Metdepenningen, the Belgian journalist who broke the story in Le Soir that Misha’s father, Robert DeWael, was a known traitor to the resistance who sold out his comrades to the Gestapo. This reporter has been subjected to a wave of public hostility, challenging his research and motives, which on March 9 led Le Soir to publish the damning documents that his research unearthed. (See link to Le Soir article on this blog.)

As to why a publisher chooses to publish one particular book or another — of course, we do it based on the expectation that we will make a profit on our choices. A publisher is in business to make money; a publisher is not the gatekeeper of the truth. Does anyone really want to suggest that publishers should decide for us what we should read and what we should believe? The founding fathers placed a high social value on freedom of the press. In light of recent developments, their confidence in the fourth estate appears to have been well founded.

The second question boils down to, “Given the $33 million judgment against them, what did Jane Daniel and Mt Ivy Press do to warrant such an outcome?

The answer is already on this blog. For those of you who have read the entire story so far, that IS what Mt Ivy Press and I DID in the creation of this book, told from the agreed-upon exhibits from the trial. The real question is “What happened AT THE TRIAL to bring about that result?” That’s a long story, enough to fill a book. I will get to it all in due time. The chapters I've posted here end with Mt Ivy's attempts to get Misha to cooperate in appearing on the Oprah show. Here's a hint: There is enough information out there now for readers to figure out why she refused to do Oprah and how this ties in with the hoax.

This much I will tell you now. There was not one penny of money earned by Mt Ivy Press that was not accounted for. Misha herself, and Vera Lee’s lawyer, Frank Frisoli, have made much over the fact that the authors never received royalties. Here is how that happened. When Frank Frisoli, on behalf of his client, Vera Lee, filed a suit against Mt Ivy Press, the complaint included Mt Ivy’s U.S. distributor, Publishers Group West (PGW), and Mt Ivy’s literary agent, Palmer & Dodge, as “reach and apply” defendants. The term reach and apply indicates that these parties were holding money on behalf of Mt Ivy that the plaintiff wanted to claim.

In fact, virtually all of Mt Ivy’s income came through these two sources: book sales in U.S. bookstores from PGW, sales of foreign and subsidiary rights from Palmer & Dodge. Immediately after they were named in the suit, both PGW and Palmer & Dodge dropped their representation of Mt Ivy. Thus, just a year after publication of the book, all of Mt Ivy’s future income was instantly curtailed.

That left whatever was in the pipeline from sales that had already occurred. Mr. Frisoli then filed a motion with the court to have Mt Ivy’s income paid into the court. The motion was granted. But the effect was that the royalties that might have been due Defonseca and Lee were now frozen as well. Both authors filed motions to order Mt Ivy to pay their royalties — which the court denied. So, in fact, the reason they received no royalties was a direct result of actions taken by Vera Lee’s attorney, Frank Frisoli. (The legal proceedings I’ve described here can be found on the docket sheet, MICV 1998-02456, Middlesex Superior Court.)

As for the offshore account, you can read about that in the chapters I’ve already posted here. To summarize: All earnings from the book, including those held in the offshore account, were not only NOT hidden, they were reported in the royalty reports prepared for the authors by Mt Ivy Press in accordance with the publishing agreement.

There was money already in the offshore account when the court order freezing Mt Ivy’s earnings went into effect, but the court refused to order Mt Ivy to pay royalties to Defonseca and Lee. That offshore money ultimately went to pay legal fees. Mt Ivy had no profits whatsoever from this book. Frank Frisoli himself acknowledged at trial that I never took a salary. In fact, I never made a penny. On the contrary, I loaned tens of thousands of dollars to the company to pay legal fees, $17,000 of which I never recovered. My lawyer, Molly Sherden, walked me through all the money issues on the witness stand. In his opening statement Mr. Frisoli advised the jury to “follow the money.” In his closing statement, he dropped this advice.

Offshore entities, by the way, are completely legal and are often used for tax purposes by companies doing business internationally. Like a personal retirement account with taxes deferred until you access the money, a company pays taxes on offshore earnings only when they are brought into the U.S. As for money being “hidden”, no author is entitled to know what bank the publisher keeps its money in. Authors are only entitled to know how much of that money is due them. That’s what appeared in Mt Ivy’s royalty reports.

So how DID the huge judgment come about?

Misha fooled the whole world for twenty years. She needed to fool only twelve jurors and one judge for ten days at trial. A Holocaust survivor has the stature of a secular saint in the public eye, on a par with Mother Theresa. In representing herself as a Jewish Holocaust survivor in court she committed perjury. Misha testified that she was cheated by Mt Ivy, and Vera Lee did the same. In effect, they corroborated each others’ version of the money, as well as other counts in the complaint.

I have heard people say, "Well, the appeals court upheld the judgment so that must mean something fishy happened." That view reflects a misunderstanding of the appeal process. In fact, an appeal is not a process for re-examination of the evidence presented at trial. The basis for an appeal is judicial error only, e.g. Did the trial judge follow the proper procedures and apply the relevant laws correctly? In other words, an appeal is about the trial judge, not the litigants. A trial may have an unjust outcome even when a judge follows all the rules to the letter. The basis for the appeal I filed was narrow and technical: subject matter jurisdiction. My appeal alleged that the judge in state court allowed into the trial matters of copyright law that were the exclusive jurisdiction of federal court.

I have consistently maintained that the evidence did not support the judgment. How can any of the findings from this trial be free from the taint of what we now know is a massive and deliberate fraud? Sunlight is the best disinfectant, admonished Justice Brandeis. There is more to this story than what has come out so far. When all the facts are known, it will become clear that Mt Ivy Press and I did nothing, NOTHING, wrong. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” cuts both ways. Misha threw up a massive smoke screen for two decades, engulfing the trial and the aftermath. Justice was consumed in a blaze of lies.

An interviewer asked me how I felt toward Misha now that she has been exposed. I answered with an expression told to me by one of the investigators in Belgium who helped uncover the evidence: “The day you met Misha was the day you should have fallen and broken your leg when you got out of bed.” I deeply regret whatever part my publishing company and I played, albeit unknowingly, in facilitating Misha’s fraud. It is most unfortunate when an iconic figure abuses the public trust. Truth also has a very high social value.


Two More Articles of Note

The Daily News Tribune published an article today that is now posted in the links at left. The author, Barbara Taormina clearly understands what is at issue in this case and took the time to research both sides of the story. It is available at: Bad moon rising: The truth behind a Holocaust hoax

Belgian journalist Marc Metdepenningen wrote the article about Misha Defonseca's father Robert DeWael being discovered to be a traitor during the war. The article published in Le Soir came under heavy criticism by people posting comments. Consequently Metdepenningen has published a well researched and fully documented article about the facts of Robert DeWael who was both a traitor and a Gestapo collaborator whose actions caused the death of a good many people. Metdepennigen has now become a lightning rod for the wrath of those who wish to keep Misha Defonseca as an icon.

The current article, written in French, is now online at Misha Defonseca: Surviving with his true past. By using online translation tools such as Google Translate or Alta Vista's Babelfish it is possible to read a rough translation of the article if you do not read French. A partial translation begins:

Her father... was recognized as a traitor by Belgian courts. Robert De Wael voluntarily collaborated with the Gestapo. He wanted to become Waffen SS and serve on the Eastern front. Ten-resistant Grenadiers died as a result of his betrayal. At the end of the war, his survivors wanted to change the name of his daughter Monique to avoid the stigma.

The literary and cinematic trickery committed by Misha Defonseca who claimed in her autobiographical book "Surviving with the Wolves ", that she was a Jewish girl of 7 years who traveled in 1941 though the forests of Eastern Europe in search of her deported parents, also refers to a page in the history of the little-known Belgian Resistance. This page, written in black and white, tells the story of Monique De Wael, aka Misha, and contains within it the reasons that have caused her, knowingly or unknowingly, to invent an imaginary past with no credibility.

Many readers have leveled insults against "Le Soir" and myself , implying that our revelations were either a creation of the "Jewish lobby", or of other sickening motives. But few have taken the time to read what the real fate of De Wael was. This story is not imaginary.

Our investigation has benefited from research undertaken two years ago on the "Grouping Grenadiers" by the writer and editor Jean-Philippe Tondeur (1), who before the outbreak of the controversy about Misha Defonseca, intended, through the history of this group of courageous resistance fighters to show his children and the younger generations the value "of a commitment such as we could not imagine today." May he be thanked.

Our investigation also relies on the account of the surviving witnesses that we found and archival documents that we obtained.

The supporting documentation can be seen by clicking on the IN EXTENSO links to the right of the article.

We thank M. Metdepennigen for his continued commitment to publishing the truth behind this on-going investigation.


Jane Daniel on NPR's Here and Now

On March 4, 2008, Jane Daniel was featured on NPR's Here and Now program talking about the Misha Defonseca hoax. You can listen to the program by clicking here. (Real Player or other audio player required.)


Belgian Newspaper Reports Allegedly True Story of Misha's Father

Update: There has been much objection to the article that appeared in Le Soir on the part of readers who felt it was unfair... consequently in fairness we are adding the disclaimer that the story, as reported in Le Soir, may be unfairly biased or not properly researched. If Le Soir retracts or modifies their reporting we will post accordingly.

The Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported yesterday that Misha Defonseca's father was a traitor, not a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. Based on interviews with Misha's 88-year old cousin Emma De Wael and a former coworker 98-year old Robert Van den Haute, the story was written by Marc Metdepenningen and is available in French at Le sombre pasee du pere de Misha.


Misha's Contract

In 1994, the year I met Misha Defonseca , she had been telling her Holocaust "story"
for several years, according to Slate Magazine, and
had been warmly embraced
by the local Jewish community. When I heard her speak
at a college event in New York City,
I, too, believed her.

Every standard publishing agreement has a clause containing the

Representations and Warranties. Under this boilerplate language,
an author
promises certain things to the publisher. Misha Defonseca and her ghost
writer, Vera Lee, each signed a publishing agreement with their publisher, Mt Ivy
Press, in which they warranted that all statements of fact in the manuscript were
"true" and "authentic". Here is that clause in the contract (click to enlarge).