Thanks for the Memoirs

We are at the other end of the spectrum from “Funes the Memorious,” Borges’ famous story.  After the fiasco of A Million Little Pieces, we now have a memoir about the Holocaust that has been misrepresented.  Not that the people involved failed to remember accurately.  They admit to acting consciously to deceive, offering further testimony to the world’s attachment to something other than radical relativism.  The movie based on the faked memoir, An Angel at the Fence, will proceed, and the filmmakers plan simply to recategorize the work as fiction, perhaps in an unconscious tribute to Baron von Munchhausen, while the author of deception tells people that giving the profits from the film to Holocaust survivor charities will suffice as penance for his forced confession.   Mr. Rosenblat and Roma Radzicki offer no objection to the blood money the film will generate. To be fair, Oprah will need to haul Herman Rosenblat in front of the cameras again, and do for Mr. Rosenblat what she did for James Frey after uncovering Mr. Frey’s scam.  Oprah could wheel out a Mark Twain quotation on the show:  “I sometimes think it were even better and safer not to lie at all than to lie injudiciously. An awkward, unscientific lie is often as ineffectual as the truth.”

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3 responses to “Thanks for the Memoirs

  1. This hoax is a tragedy. The Rosenblats have hurt Jews all over and given support to those who deny the holocaust. I don’t understand why Atlantic Pictures is still proceeding to make a film based on a lie. I also don’t understand how Oprah could have publicized this story, especially after James Frey and given that many bloggers like Deborah Lipstadt said in 2007 that the Rosenblat’s story couldn’t be true.
    There are so many other worthwhile projects based on genuine love stories from the Holocaust. 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. 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. Now that’s a romantic love story! I also admire Dina for her tremendous courage 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.

    Also, Dina’s story has been verified as 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 Rosenblat’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 publicized, not these hoax tales that destroy credibility and trust.

  2. Thanks for the comment. As you say, it will be interesting to see whether Oprah follows up on the news.

    I do not see the Rosenblat case as reflecting on all Jews, though you are likely right that the story could easily become a weapon by those who want to want to hurl suspicion on the Holocaust. Mr. Rosenblat seems unable to see that unintended consequence. I have not read anything that indicates, in this context, that he is aware of much on the other side of his cloud of sentimentality.

    After the Frey case, we have to wonder, as you point out, why the publisher did not check the details, even after warnings from reliable sources.

  3. The question that doesn’t give me peace is why do we assign a greater emotional and moral value to a story that is true, compared to a fictional, but credible one? What if that fence was a little more accessible? Would that have made a difference?

    This is what I think:
    http://eleiva.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/how-important-is-truth-in-a-story/

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