Faked Holocaust memoir: Den of lies
In 1997, Jane Daniel published a sensational memoir about a young girl fleeing the Nazis and living with wolves. Ever since, she’s been trying to prove it’s a fraud.

By David Mehegan
Globe Staff / March 1, 2008

GLOUCESTER – Seldom has a publisher set out to prove that her own book is a hoax. But that is what happened with the memoir of Misha Defonseca, a heartwarming Holocaust-era tale that has turned out to be a fake. The publisher, Jane Daniel, said she disregarded warnings about the book in its early stages but later – after losing a devastating lawsuit by the author – sought proof that the woman she had once hoped would make her a fortune was a liar.
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Massachusetts author Defonseca, who wrote “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,” admitted Thursday through her lawyer that her memoir was fabricated. Published in 1997 by Daniel’s one-woman operation, the book told the tale of a little Belgian Jewish girl who trekked across Europe on foot during World War II, searching for her deported parents and eluding capture by hiding with packs of friendly wolves. The book was a bestseller in Europe, translated into 18 languages, and the basis for a hit French movie now showing across the continent. After documents emerged that discredited Defonseca’s story, her Belgian lawyer issued a statement admitting that she isn’t Jewish and that she spent the war safely in Brussels.
Globe Staff / March 1, 2008

GLOUCESTER – Seldom has a publisher set out to prove that her own book is a hoax. But that is what happened with the memoir of Misha Defonseca, a heartwarming Holocaust-era tale that has turned out to be a fake. The publisher, Jane Daniel, said she disregarded warnings about the book in its early stages but later – after losing a devastating lawsuit by the author – sought proof that the woman she had once hoped would make her a fortune was a liar.

Massachusetts author Defonseca, who wrote “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,” admitted Thursday through her lawyer that her memoir was fabricated. Published in 1997 by Daniel’s one-woman operation, the book told the tale of a little Belgian Jewish girl who trekked across Europe on foot during World War II, searching for her deported parents and eluding capture by hiding with packs of friendly wolves. The book was a bestseller in Europe, translated into 18 languages, and the basis for a hit French movie now showing across the continent. After documents emerged that discredited Defonseca’s story, her Belgian lawyer issued a statement admitting that she isn’t Jewish and that she spent the war safely in Brussels.