Author of Fake Holocaust Memoir Loses $22.5M Case

Misha Defonseca claimed she spent WWII with pack of wolves

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 12, 2014 6:11 AM CDT

(Newser) A woman who made up a best-selling memoir about spending her World War II childhood living with wolves in Europe's forests after her parents were arrested by the Nazis has been ordered to repay her publisher a whopping $22.5 million. After an earlier legal dispute with Misha Defonseca in which she was awarded $32.4 million, the publisher managed to dig up proof that the author of Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years had actually spent the war living with her grandparents in Brussels—and that she wasn't Jewish, as she had claimed, Courthouse News reports

The publisher found that the author was born Monica Ernestine Josephine De Wael, not Misha Levy, and she had been enrolled in school during the war years, reports the Times of Israel. After the deception was first uncovered, Defonseca, whose book claimed that she had stabbed a Nazi to death and covered thousands of miles searching for her parents, said that she had "always felt Jewish." She argued that she had believed the memoir was true while she was writing it, but the Massachusetts court that found against her decided that argument didn't alter the facts of the case.

Misha Defonseca smirks during proceedings at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass.
Misha Defonseca smirks during proceedings at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass.   (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
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