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Children’s book based on Holocaust story is pulled

“Angel Girl,” a children’s book based on Herman Rosenblat’s tale of meeting his future wife in a concentration camp, has been pulled by its publisher in the wake of Rosenblat’s acknowledgment that his story didn’t really happen.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The fallout continues from Herman Rosenblat's discredited Holocaust story. Laurie Friedman's “Angel Girl,” a children's book inspired by Rosenblat, was pulled Tuesday by the Lerner Publishing Group. President and publisher Adam Lerner said in a statement that the Minneapolis-based company had been misled by Rosenblat and his wife, Roma. "We are dismayed to learn about Herman and Roma Rosenblat's recantation of part of their Holocaust survival story," Lerner said. "While this tragic event in world history needs to be taught to children, it is imperative that it is done so in a factual way that doesn't sacrifice veracity for emotional impact." Friedman, whose other books include the popular “Mallory” series, said in a statement issued through Lerner that the Rosenblats had reviewed her manuscript and assured her of its accuracy. “I wanted to find a way to share what I felt was an important and inspiring message for children,” Friedman said. “My goal in writing 'Angel Girl' was to communicate that even in the darkest of times, no one should give up hope. “Unfortunately, I, like many others, am disappointed and upset to now learn of Herman's fabrications.”Lerner Publishing is offering refunds for returned copies of the book, which had a list price of $16.95. About 2,000 copies had been sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales. Rosenblat, 79, and a resident of North Miami Beach, Fla., last weekend acknowledged fabricating his story of how he met his wife, to whom he has been married for 50 years. His own memoir, “Angel at the Fence,” scheduled for release in February, was quickly canceled by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). Rosenblat, a prisoner at a sub-camp of Buchenwald in the 1940s, had charmed the world for years with his story of meeting a young girl who would throw him apples and bread from the other side of a barbed-wire fence. Rosenblat appeared twice on Oprah Winfrey's television talk show, and was a popular speaker and interview subject. But scholars doubted Rosenblat, noting that the alleged meeting area at the camp was next to the SS barracks. Numerous inconsistencies were raised recently by The New Republic. “To all who supported and believed in me and this story, I am sorry for all I have caused to you and every one else in the world,” Rosenblat said in a statement released Sunday through his agent, Andrea Hurst. At least one Rosenblat project is still on: A feature film based on his life that is to begin filming next year. Producer Harris Salomon of Atlantic Overseas Pictures says the movie may refer to why the Rosenblats apparently “fabricated elements of their wartime love story.”

On Tuesday, Salomon said he also hopes to find a publisher for a novelization of the film's screenplay. Atlantic "will ensure the publication of the book whether or not a publisher steps forward," he said.

Winfrey's office, meanwhile, has yet to comment, although the Rosenblats remain on her Web site,, where their relationship is labeled “the single greatest love story, in 22 years of doing this show, we've ever told on the air.”