The author of a best-selling Holocaust memoir admitted she made up the story.
Misha Defonseca, a Belgian writer living in Massachusetts, also acknowledged in a statement given by her lawyers to The Associated Press that she is not Jewish.
Defonseca said “Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years” came straight from her imagination. The book was translated into 18 languages and was being readied for publication in the United States.
She was under pressure to issue a statement about her book after a genealogical researcher in Waltham, Mass ., began to unearth discrepancies in the unpublished U.S. version.
“This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving,” Defonseca said in the statement to AP. She apologized for the fabrication.
In the memoir Defonseca wrote that she lived with a pack of wolves after her parents were abducted by the Nazis, sought out her parents across Europe for four years as a young girl and murdered a German soldier.
Defonseca, 71, lives in Dudley, about 50 miles southwest of Boston. She now says her real name is Monique De Wael and that her parents were Belgian resistance fighters killed by the Nazis.
In her statement Defonseca said she began to identify as Jewish because after her parents’ death, she was adopted by a grandfather and uncle who mistreated her and saw her parents as traitors.