Oprah fooled by memoir
You'd think after the public dissection of James Frey nobody would be fool enough to try to snooker the Queen of all Media with a memoir again. Oprah Winfrey called Herman Rosenblat’s tale of how he met his wife in a concentration camp “the single greatest love story” she’d ever heard. Once again, the story that was too good to be true ... well, it isn’t true.
Rosenblat, who survived the Holocaust as a young boy, had written a memoir telling the story of meeting his wife of 50 years when she was a farm girl who tossed apples over the fence at a concentration camp. Then, claimed Herman, he met the girl 12 years later on a blind date. Lovely story, for sure, but not a bit true. Now the memoir, scheduled to come out in February, is being yanked.
What's astonishing is how widespread the tale became before he was called on it. Rosenblat first concocted his story in the mid 1990s as an entry to a newspaper contest soliciting the “best love stories,” according to the New York Times. In 1996, he appeared on Oprah's show, and his story appeared in magazines, in one of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, and in a children’s book.
As media coverage of Rosenblat’s story spread, scholars and bloggers began pointing out that, among other things, the layout of the camp would have prevented the pair from meeting at a fence. After critical articles appeared last week in The New Republic, Rosenblat confessed on Saturday that he had concocted the core of his tale and his wife had never tossed him apples over the fence.
“I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people,” Rosenblat wrote in the statement. “I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world. In my dreams, Roma will always throw me an apple, but I now know it is only a dream.”
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne