Misha Defonseca Ordered to Pay Back $22.5 to Publisher Over Fake Holocaust Memoir

Posted on May 12, 2014

Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust YearsMisha Defonseca, the author of a fake Holocaust memoir in which she describes escaping the Nazis as a child, has been ordered to pay back $22.5 million to her publisher. Defonseca is the author of the book Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years. Defonseca describes her life on the run from the Nazis: she went hungry, lived with the wolves and even killed a Nazi soldier. She was encouraged to write the memoir after someone listed to the stories she told of her childhood at the local temple. The book was published in 1997 by Mt. Ivy Press. It was an international sensation and was made into a feature film in France.

The story of the book came unraveled after the author and her ghostwriter Vera Lee sued the publisher and its founder Jane Daniel for hiding profits. They won that lawsuit in 1998 and were awarded $32.4 million. The case has been on appeal since then. In 2008 researchers discovered that Misha's real name is Monique de Wael. At the time that little Monique was supposedly fleeing across the country, taming wolves and killing a Nazi, she was actually attending school in Belgium. She's not even Jewish.

Misha -- or Monique -- admitted in 2008 that the story was not true but said, "This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving." It appears that her parents were killed in the war for failing to collaborate with the Nazis. She said that her harsh treatment by the Nazis made her "feel Jewish."

Fox reports that the judge in the case, Judge Marc Kantrowitz, said he hoped this was the last order he had to make in the lengthy proceedings which have dragged on for 17 years.

Photo: Mt. Ivy Press