Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

turn the page: misha a memoir of the holocaust years

misha Of all the fake Holocaust memoirs that have been uncovered this one struck me as the weirdest. The woman, Misha Defonseca, who has since revealed herself to be Monique De Wael, supposedly the daughter of Belgian resistance fighters, claimed to have lived with wolves in the woods in her efforts to avoid the Nazis. It turns out that the whole thing came entirely from her imagination. If she wanted to make a point about the war, which her book obviously did, given that it convinced people until a genealogist started to uncover discrepancies, why did she not just sell it as such? Namely a work of fiction. With the understandable levels of sensitivity around the subject of the Holocaust how does one convince themselves that they are going to get away with such an enterprise? I think her motivations were not bad, just perhaps naive — she is not evil of course, but severely misguided. People take those who deny the Holocaust very seriously — she is lucky they do not take the writers of fake memoirs the same. —————- Now playing: Blur – No Distance Left to Run via FoxyTunes

One comment on “turn the page: misha a memoir of the holocaust years


Simply put, people wouldn’t buy this if it was a work of fiction.

Why would they? The plot is absurd and unbelievable – a woman escapes from the Holocaust and survives with wolves? Who would believe such a thing?

If you paid close attention to the case of James Frey (the author of A Million Little Pieces, perhaps the most famous in a long like of fake memoirs), you’ll notice that part of the evidence leveled against him was that he has attempted to publish his novel half a dozen times with other publishers in the fiction category – and was rejected by all of them. Only when he came calling his book a ‘memoir’ did he get published – and from there he became a bestseller.

The vast majority of these fake memoirs (and even memoirs in general, to an extent), despite their popularity, have absolutely no literary merit whatsoever. They are popular only because they are ‘real.’ Their being ‘real’ exempts them from any criticism and allows for an infinite suspension of disbelief – even the most ridiculously unlikely events are accepted without question, even the most juvenile and boring writing is forgiven.


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