Ah! Nothing says Happy New Year like the smiling faces of nice old folks who not only survived the Holocaust but scored a huge book deal in exchange for telling the romantic story of how they met, first during the Holocaust, and then on a blind date at Coney Island. Too good to be true, too brilliant not to make a chunk of cash.
Personally, I’ve been to Coney Island, and as the Sig Oth and I gazed at all of New York and some of Jersey from the top of the Wonder Wheel, I recall thinking to myself, “The only thing that could make this moment more special would be if, before we met officially, the Sig Oth was in a Concentration Camp, and I was throwing him apples over the fence to help him survive while living in hidding with a Christian family.” So I totally get why the story has such appeal.
Unfortunately, it turns out Herman Rosenblat was probably thinking the same thing when he went to Coney Island, because although he may have indeed met his wife there, the entire substance of his Holocaust memoir is fabricated.
I get it where he’s coming from. Totally. I find apples romantic! And, I want to be a famous writer too. I guess I’m just not creative enough to invent a love story worth Oprah’s declaration of “Single Greatest Love Story Ever.” Nor I am resourceful enough to make up something totally factually inaccurate and convince a big deal agent and Penguin Books that it’s true.
God I am lame. Why are you still reading? Ohhh. Because I’m talking about the Holocaust! And social convention post 1945 deems that you must pay attention when someone is talking about the Holocaust, because otherwise, you hate Jews.
Sadly, thanks to the number of fake Holocaust memoirs surfacing, experts are anxious that people who don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened will take this foppery as fodder for an argument that the whole thing was fiction. Whether this is an overreaction, I don’t know. But I do know that when it comes to scoring a book deal, nothing is sacred.