Today, I have a New Republic piece out on the controversial new Holocaust memoir, Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived. The piece looks into whether the author, Herman Rosenblat, a retired electrician from Miami, may have embellished or fabricated the book’s central premise. Herman’s tale is widely known. In the winter of 1945, Herman says that he met a girl outside the fence of a sub-camp of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp. She threw him apples. Then, in 1957, Herman reunited with her on a blind date at Coney Island. Months later, they married. Oprah hailed Herman’s story. There’s currently a feature film in production and in September, a children’s book, titled Angel Girl, was released.
There’s now a growing concern among Holocaust scholars I spoke with that Herman’s story, at least the version he’s been telling, isn’t true. Historical documents from the Red Cross archives contradict his chronology. His late older brother said he was “ashamed” Herman was telling his tale. And according to Kenneth Waltzer, a Harvard PhD historian who heads the Jewish Studies Department at Michigan State University, it would be impossible for Herman or Roma to approach the barbed-wire fence at the camp. The only place where a prisoner or a civilian could get near the fence was right next to the SS barracks.
The book is slated for release on February 3. Herman’s agent and publisher, Berkley Books, refused to talk to me about the book, and whether the memoir was fact checked. After numerous emails and phone messages to the publisher went unanswered, I called the book’s editor, Natalee Rosenstein to inquire about the book. After picking up, she screamed into the phone: “How dare you call me at home!” before promptly slamming the phone down.
Read the full piece HERE