Monday, March 3, 2008

Holocaust Hoax: It's Getting Worse

Edited 2:11 p.m.

This morning's Le Soir, a Belgian newspaper which has been following the Misha hoax story pretty carefully, carries a stunning story on this ever more sordid story.

According to the article, her father, Robert DeWael, was not in the resistance but worked with Gestapo. He was responsible for denouncing a number of his fellow townspeople to them.

As a result, he became such a reviled figure that after the war the townspeople removed his name from a memorial to the town's war dead as you can see in the picture from Le Soir.

The paper reports that when it learned that Misha's name was "De Wael" they contacted a number of the the De Waels in the region. This is how they found Misha's 88-year old cousin Emma De Wael who provided the information on the father.

In her blog, Kathleen Valentine, who has been regularly blogging about this, expresses sympathy for Misha. I have a hard time doing that knowing the damage she has caused.

But the most revolting character may well be the lawyer Frisoli who seems to be licking his chops at the thought of getting the publisher's house. "

Thinking of this lawyer reminds me of the famous words of another Bostonian:
"You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

After posting the above, I discovered that David Mehegan, the Boston Globe reporter who has been assiduously covering this, had just sent me a link to his comments on the Globe blog about this. His final paragraph is worth quoting here:

While I would not be one to excuse Defonseca's lying use of the Holocaust to make money, I do suppose that if I were Benedict Arnold's daughter, I too might go to great lengths to make myself into a new person with a happy story.

There were wolves in her childhood. But they wore uniforms

5 comments:

Kathleen Valentine said...

It is hard to feel any compassion for Misha knowing what she has done to so many people but I still don't envy what she grew up with. However, I agree with you whole-heartedly about Frisoli --- what a contemptible character.

What I don't understand is why his client, Vera Lee, keeps saying she doesn't want Jane Daniel's house but Frisoli persists --- who works for whom? Or is Vera being dishonest?

This whole story has more than its share of characters that would be very much at home in Dickens.

AncestralManor said...

While we were investigating the proof trail for "Misha" Defonseca's real identity, we collected numerous items in a decades long time line that were relevant to the basic "Is this the same person?" issue.

Thus, the 1937 baptismal record for Monique De Wael (that matched the US records for "Misha" Defonseca) led us to the 1943 school record. We were also able to ascertain that the Marguerite Levy in Monique De Wael's 1943 first grade class was indeed the younger sister of "Misha's" first husband. Monique De Wael was growing up in the same neighborhood with the Levy family that became her in-laws in 1959.

When we released the baptismal and the school records, we had more information, but so did the Belgian authorities, the Le Soir newspaper reporter, and the historical researchers. We just gave them the central pieces, so they could break the story with more grounding.

Still "Misha" prevailed in her defense, as did the legions of supporters she has accumulated in nearly two decades. We had to continue to reveal more evidence. The fact that "Misha" was convinced to confess was based on a great deal of information that was not released. Her confession was "damage control" - fairly effective in it's first round because there are plenty of folks who are able to understand the story of the trauma of losing her parents, growing up with the judgmental aspects of the circumstances, and the "good faith" explanations of "Misha's" reality.

It is a sad story. It is just not the latest version of story that "Misha" continues to tell. I suspect that this sequential fraud is one that she will not give up until she has rung every tear out of the layers of that onion.

Real history and the stories of real people can be told. Frauds can be better detected and documented.

This complex "Misha" story is still unfolding. None of us are immune to the lessons.

Sharon Sergeant

Ludovic said...

« According to the article, her father, Robert DeWael, was not in the resistance but worked with Gestapo. »

You are contradicting David Mehegan, who says in his blog entry that "Robert and Josephine De Wael, were resistance fighters" (1)

Studying history requires using more elaborate categories than "good" and "bad", "in the resistance" and "with the Gestapo". The "Le Soir" article you mention (2) says that he founded a resistance movement : "Il contactait tous les anciens officiers et sous-officiers" (he contacted all the former commissioned and non-commissioned officers) of his former army regiment. Then, in september 1941 "des agents de la Sicherheitpolizei (police secrète des SS) (...) ont découvert les plans de Robert De Wael, des documents relatifs à son réseau" (agents of Sicherheitspolizei - the secret police of the SS (...) discovered Robert De Wael's plans and documents pertaining to his [resistance] network". He was arrested, sent to Germany. Then he was interrogated by Gestapo, denounced his resistance comrades and helped the Gestapo obtain their confessions.

Can you call an arrested person who cooperates with the police someone who "works with" the police ( « but worked with Gestapo » ), without any further detail ?

He died of exhaustion in the concentration camp of Sonnenburg. Monique (aka Misha)'s mother died in the concentration camp of Ravensbruck. Monique (aka Misha) Defonseca was given the title of "war orphan" after the war : "le statut d'orphelin de guerre sera accordé en 1947 à Misha Defonseca, reconnue comme ayant droit de sa mère, non de son père. Lui avait trahi, elle pas." (The war orphan status was given in 1947 to Misha Defonseca, recognized as beneficiary of her mother, not of her father. He had commited treason, she had not).

Understanding the true nature of the evil of the Gestapo requires understanding how the Gestapo was able to turn a good person into a traitor.

Although nothing indicates in this article that Robert de Wael was tortured, nothing indicates either that he was not tortured. The Gestapo was allowed to use torture in june 1942(3), while "Le Soir" quotes Jean-Philippe Tondeur as saying that Robert De Wael committed treason in the summer of 1942.

(1)http://www.boston.com/ae/books/blog/2008/03/misha_and_the_w.html ; by the way, I am not sure whether David Mehegan's sentence : "died of natural causes later in the war" is the best way to describe someone who dies of exhaustion in a nazi concentration camp.

(2) Marc Metdepenningen, "Le sombre passé du père de Misha", dimanche 02 mars 2008, 22:38, http://www.lesoir.be/culture/cinema/evenement-robert-de-wael-raye-2008-03-02-581412.shtml

(3) "Himmler, le chef de la Gestapo, par un ordre du 12 juin 1942, autorise la torture" http://www.hemes.be/esas/mapage/euxaussi/justice/aveuguer.html ; "Dès le 10 juin, le pouvoir central nazi lui recommanda d'utiliser la torture lors des interrogatoires" http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestapo

FAIIRPLAY said...

What this Mischa story reveals in "Just how gullible some people are". This raises the question what percentage of the Western World can be classed as gullible. We've all heard of the wounded hero's who never served in the military, the alleged USAF & RAF pilots who couldn't fly a child's kite. Recently in the UK, we had 'a con-man who claimed to be a Government Secret Agent fleeing from contract killers, who got three mugs to support him in luxury whilst he hid from them.

Taking a stab in the dark guess, I'd guess that perhaps one in eight people - if they are told in confidence [how apt] that the Jews own all the banks, the film studios and have secret enclaves in which world domination is planned they'll believe it. And maybe that's the top and bottom answer to the problem of anti-Semitism, it's the homespun philosophy of self-taught mugs.

Kathleen Valentine said...

Yesterday Marc Metdepenningen and Le Soir printed an article that documents DeWael's cooperatio with the Gestapo including the testimony of witnesses. Mehegan didn't have the facts when he wrote his article. See www.BESTSELLERtheBook.blogspot.com for details.