Tuesday, June 3, 2008


The senior English class of Marianna High School, in Marianna, Florida, was studying the Holocaust and learned about Misha Defonseca's fraudulent memoire, MISHA A Memoire of the Holocaust Years. They were so upset they decided to write letters to her telling her how they felt. The first letter (below) is from their teacher, Ramona Whitehead. One young man added a photo to his letter. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. (The last names of the students were withheld by the editor of this blog.)

Dear Mrs. Defonseca:

My students have been learning about the horrors of the Holocaust since January. We read
Elie Wiesel's book NIGHT; we watched SCHINDLER'S LIST; we have completed research
projects to find out more about that time period; we took a three hour bus trip to meet a
man who survived Auschwitz and Dachau. We have spent countless hours discussing
and wondering how people could disbelieve an event of such magnitude.

And then we found out about your book and we knew. We knew why thousands of people
around the world think that the pictures and video footage of the atrocities committed by
Nazi controlled Europe during World War 11 were fakes. We knew why people across the
world might have reason to doubt the unbelievable events and stories of those who survived.
When people write books that they say are real, and the entire world learns that it is all
make-believe, a way to escape from reality, other people have more reason to doubt the
true survivors.

Sure you could have said it was a fictional account; your true story sounds pretty awful
as well; why couldn't you have written that? That's a survivor story too! I am sorry that I
can't imagine that you cannot differentiate realities. I am sorry that your childhood was
terrible. I cannot imagine having to survive without parents, and I hate the thought of that
happening to any child. I cannot, however, condone lying to the world about an event so tragic.

I thank you for taking the time to read the letters from my students. Whether or not you like
or disagree with what they have to say, it is important for them to know that their voices, just
like yours, matter. May God bless you.


Ramona L. Whitehead
English IV teacher
Marianna High School

Dear Mrs. Dewael / Defonseca

Almost nothing you wrote about yourself or your horrific childhood during the Holocaust was true. I feel sorry for the true Holocaust survivors you used to promote your lies. I didn't even know anything about the Holocaust but as I began learning about it the first thing I learned was that the lie you told.

I beg you to put yourself in my place, of a 4-year-old girl who was very lost," Defonseca said.

But why should we accept your apology when you should have just told the truth from the

The school I attend took a field trip to visit a college speaker at the Auburn University of Montgomery and it was three holocaust survivors there who told the truth. They actually went threw the camp.
I gained a lot of facts from that event and it was the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

How do people like Elie Wiesel feel about this? Could you ever look him in the eye?
Maybe this is a joke to you?

The Holocust was a real, tragic event that people lost there lives in thousands.
They don't write stories for fame or money; they write these things to show the
world what happened, and for you to try and get personal gain from such a thing
disgusts me. I truly feel sorry for people like you, those who lie/ cheat/steal, do
just about anything to get to the top.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca/ De Wael

Tell me, why would you do such a thing like write a story that is untrue and could
cause more people to believe that the Holocaust didn't happen? It will now cause
people who read your book to have second thoughts about other authors who wrote
about their Holocaust experiences.

All you had to do was state that your story was fictional, or write about your real
childhood experience.



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca/ Monique Dewael:

Hello Mrs, Defonseca. Your book was truly a phenomenal book, and it
really touched many hearts, Your book is a great "fictional account".

Mrs. Defonseca, I am a senior at Marianna High School in Florida, and we take
the Holocaust very seriously and we feel very compassionately for the victims
and families of the victims that survived the holocaust. But for you to deceive
millions of people by writing a fictional account and selling it as a real account,
you make it hard for the people who really have been through these trials to be
taken seriously.

I don't understand why anyone would do such a thing as you did; maybe you
think it's all a game, but I have news for you, it's not! There are people that
don't even believe that the Holocaust ever happened, and your situation just
added fuel to the fire. I hope you learned a lesson or at least understand what
you did was wrong.


Dear Monique De Wael,

I am not even Jewish but I am enraged about what you have done.



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca,

I'm sorry about your parents being tortured and killed by the nazi's, but I really don't see
why that gives you the audacity to make up a story. There are so many people out there in
the world that don't even believe that the Holocaust ever happened, and you've added fuel
to the fire and it's getting ready to explode.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca/ De Wael:

You have asked the world to see things in your view and to try and be in your shoes.
I put myself in your shoes. And the only time I could see your point of view was when
you were that four year old girl feeling "Jewish". I could see a young girl thinking that, and
wouldn't be upset by her stories of wolves raising her. But you weren't that four year old
girl when you wrote the book. You were an adult woman. And an adult should know the
difference between fantasy and reality, between right and wrong. And it was wrong
for you to pass a four year old's fantasy into an adult woman's reality.



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca,

Why in the world would you make up a story like that? Did you stop and think about the
people that REALLY had to deal with the Holocaust? How can you say you "felt"



Dear Mrs Misha Defonseca,

The genocide of the Holocaust was cruel and nobody should ever have to go through
something like that again. That's why people, especially young people, need to learn
about the grief it brought to this world, and with people like you writing false information
about it and making up stories, people won't know what to believe.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

You were in the wrong when you said that you were in the Holocaust. You came
nowhere near feeling like the Jews did when they were being tortured, killed, and
starved for no apparent reason during the rein of Hitler.

The Jews that were in the Holocaust went through so much just because of their religion.
They suffered greatly and many of them died while in the camps, and for you to lie and make
people believe you were one of those who survived that horrific event is unbelievable.
Then, after you had everyone believing your sad story and you had made money off of it, you
came out and revealed the truth that you were never greatly affected by the holocaust.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca / De Wael

I have no problem with fictional books; but when a book is not a true story but is labeled, sold, and advertised as a biography, I am dismayed. Why, if you wrote book such as this, would you say that it was a true story about your childhood?

In deep regret,


Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

The thought of you making up your struggle through the holocaust is just
outrageous. How can you seek profits off of another person's real life horror?

You should be embarrassed as a human being to even have the thought in your
sick mind that you been through a tragedy such as the holocaust. You should
have issued a national apology to the families of the survivors and the families
of the victims of this worldwide tragedy.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

I was wondering why would you write a story about the most tragic moment in the world
for the jewish people, the Holocaust, and lie, which is like making fun of all the Jewish people
and their religion.

You might not realize it, but you have insulted the Jewish religion and might, if you have not already, anger some of the Holocaust survivors that were there and are still living in the world today. I justthought I would let you know what you did was crazy.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

I write not to criticize you, but just to get more of an understanding of why you did it? Did you ever think your false writings could hurt so many people?



Dear Mrs Defonseca / De Wael,

Why? Why would you lie? To make it so bad, it was about something so serious.
Some people were actually in the Holocaust and had to suffer and die.



Dear Mrs.Defonseca / De Wael:

My suggestion to you would be to think about your actions before you
go through with them because this story that you made up got a lot of
people angry.



Dear Monique De Wael,

I know I really cannot speak for any of the Jews that actually went through this
situation but, to my opinion, I think it was wrong. I really do not understand how
this or whatever you went through could make you feel like a Jew.

My question to you is why would you write a story about yourself that is not true
but also affects the lives of others?

Was it for the money or Fame? Why?



Mrs Misha Defonseca,

You should be ashamed about the fact you wrote the book "A Memoir of the Holocaust Years "
saying you were raised by a pack of wolves.



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca,

In my English class we are studying the Holocaust and I finally realized
what all the Jewish people went through, and I also learned a lot more
about the holocaust.

Charges should be pressed against you for making a mockery of the
Jewish race.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

People suffered, lost loved ones, and went through hardship.
I can't believe you had the audicity to tell all those lies.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

The Holocaust was a very serious matter in world history. It is also a very sensitive topic. So when I heard that you wrote a story about your experiences in the Holocaust that you said was true and then admitted you made up, I was angered.

The fact that you are not even Jewish is even more upsetting. The struggle that the Jews have gone through is nothing to take lightly, and it shouldn't be mocked.

I hope you pay for your lies, and I hope you can deal woth yourself after this incident.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

First of all I think it was a great story, because I am a fan of fiction writers. But it was not completely true either and other than that it was a good book on the holocaust. I learned a lot from hearing about it. And the story was so well written. I couldn't imagine what it
was like in those times.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

On the back of your book some very highly thought of people commented on your
book. They all promoted your book to be very moving, heart felt, and beautiful. Now one of the people that commented your book really stood out to me, Elie Wiesel. This man really did survive the Holocaust. He lost his sister, mother, and then lastly his father. He witnessed things that no one on the Earth will hopefully ever see again. This man said,"Very moving."........and now he probably knows the news about your childhood story being a fake.

Do you feel good about him saying that? If I were in your shoes I would feel like a bug on some ones windshield; dead, smeared, and lowly. He thought that your story was like his in a way. He could level with you about the heart break, the hard times, the long and tiresome journey.

So I have just one thing to ask.........Why?



Dear Mrs Defonseca/ De Wael:

Writing this story, knowing full well it wasn't true, and saying that it was true is like
saying the Holocaust didn't happen. What was your motive behind this? Was it money?
Were you starved for attention and just wanted someone to recognize and feel sorry for
you just because you were alive during that time and had a "brush" with the war?



Dear Mrs.Defonseca,

Why did you have to lie about being in the Holocaust?

I really don't have anything else to say to you, but really want to know why you had to lie.
I hope that you asked God to forgive you for all of the lies that you told!



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca / Monique De Wael,

I have a lot of questions; Why in the world would you even think about writing a book about something so serious and so important in history?

I don't feel that you should ever write any more books, EVER. You should feel lower than dirt to have the stomach to write about something so serious.



Dear Mrs. Misha,

I have questions about why anyone would want to lie about anything as tragic as the Holocaust.
Why would you even want to lie about such a tragic situation?

If you wanted to write a story because it sounded good or you just wanted to be famous or make
money, you should have said it was fiction. But you had to go and lie about tragic events instead to
try to make yourself famous.

Stick to the truth. I guess I just can't imagine why someone would want to write a book and have
it published if it weren't true.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca:

Many people once believed there was no such thing as the Holocaust
because an event like the Holocaust was to be thought of as inhumane.

There was an event swept the world, the holocaust has made a memory
that will never be forgotten. That Mrs. Defonseca/De Wael you have made
history for the world to see you as a indifferent for the impression of your
life as it was not.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca? De WAel,

When you wrote this book about the Holocaust, why didn't you tell the real truth
about yourself growing up during the Holocaust?

When people read about the Holocaust, they read about real things.
They tell about the true stories that really happened to them during that time.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca:

I am writing you today to ask you, Why write fiction and claim that it is true because there were a lot of other Holocaust victims who went through all that pain for real.



Dear Mrs. Misha Defonseca/ Monique De Wael

The story could have just been printed as a fiction book and there wouldn't
have been any problems. I really don't understand that. But instead you choose
to lie to millions of people and most importantly you put the Holocaust in it.

Do you not know that some people don't even believe in the Holocaust?
Well it's true and because of your story, it makes people believe more that it didn't happen.

You not only lied, but you made it harder for the Holocaust survivors. I really hope you
understand what you have really done



Dear Mrs Defonseca/Monique De Wael

I am a student a Marianna High School. In my English 4 class we were reading Night
and than we found your book.

You got a lot of people mad when you lied about the Holocaust.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

You have to be really selfish and low to make up a lie like that.
I'm not trying to make you feel bad because I'm sure many people
have written you and told you how wrong you were, but the point
I'm trying to get to you is to take that situation seriously because
it's not a joke, and I feel like you are taking it as a joke.


T. J.

Dear Mrs. Defonseca / De Wael:

I feel that what you did was avoidable and completely your fault. The outcome of your
book could have been just as rewarding if you would have just published as a fiction novel.



Dear Misha Defonseca:

I really was upset when I heard about your book. If you wanted to write a book that had something to do with your life, you should have said it was
either fiction or just write your story, the true part of it.

If something as big as the holocaust really happened to you and somebody else wrote a story and then said after it was published and sold it was a lie, wouldn't you have been really upset?



Dear Monique De Wael:

You owe the Jewish community as well as other people who fed into your lies
a big apology. You are a liar and sneak. You should feel horrible. I pray for you
and your life and hope that you will realize what you did was wrong.



Dear Mrs. Misha,

When hearing about your novel A Memoire of the Holocaust Years I was
deeply concerned about some things. I know that recently you have asked
people to forgive you about writing a novel that was fiction and saying it was true.

I also know you have hurt people in the past. I am so happy you came out with
the truth. But we both know a lot of people probably think the holocaust did not happen
because of your novel.

Yours Truly,

Sara Anna

Dear Mrs. Misha,

Why would you do something like this? Was it for fame? Or was it just because you have nothing better to do all day than to live in a fantasy world?

Regardless of your reasons, I still can't find anything positive to say about the situation.
So next time you think of making up things, you should consider how lies might affect others besides yourself!



Dear Mrs. Defonseca:

I recently learned about your book the Memoir of the Holocaust Years, and how you were
able to convince so many people that your story was true. What you did was not wrong
but sad. Anytime we have to lie about ourselves in order to gain attention, we not only lie
to others but ourselves.

There is only one thing that would have prevented me from being mad at you. That is, if I
thought you had the mind of a child. Monique De Wael you wrote "There are time when I find
it difficult to differentiate between reality and my inner world. The story in the book is mine.
It is not the actual reality- it is my reality, my way of surviving.

This statement troubled me greatly. For, when you are a small child it is sometime alright
to make things up; a child will make up an imaginary friend when he or she is lonely. Then
later you stated, "I ask for forgiveness for all those who feel betrayed but I ask them to put
themselves in the place of a small girl of four years old who has lost everything and who has
to survive."

However, Monique De Wael you are an adult not that small girl. Therefore, I will address you
as an adult and hold you responsible for what you did.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

My senior English class is highly upset at the fact you lied about the Holocaust.
We've all had stuff that we've gone through in our lives, but we don't lie about it
for the entire world to read.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca/Monique De Wael,

Please break it down for me, you had to do it for the money, nine times out of ten that's what it always is.

Why didn't you just put fiction on the whole book and call it a day?
But, I mean honestly I'm pretty sure that because of people like you that people believe that the holocaust didn't happen at all.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca:

Now that people know about it being fake, I'm sure some people find
it hard to believe any of the other Holocaust stories they hear. I think
you need to really think about what you did.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca/ De Wael:

Your writing this book doesn't help the situation; it makes all the non-believers deem their thoughts right.
You give those who did survive Holocaust, concentration camps, or other tribulations during the time, a harder time in telling their stories; people may not believe their stories because of your lies!



Dear Mrs. Defonseca,

Lie after Lie in the book every page full of crap that is hard to believe. The thing that still I
don't get is you made Elie Wiesel believe that your story is true. He was actual survivor of
Holocaust and you made him read and believe your story and was real when it was not

You should be ashamed of yourself that you made people believe your story.



Mrs. Misha Defonseca/ Monique Dewael

I just wanted to let you know that I did like your book, but I really don't
appreciate the fact that you lied and said that your story was real.
Many people already don't believe that the Holocaust is true.

You used your imagination and the story makes you think.
Overall you should've told the truth from the start instead of
waiting now and trying to tell the truth.



Dear Mrs. Defonseca / Monique De Wael,

I do not feel any sympathy towards you because you knew the truth. I feel for the people that figured out your story was bogus and became socially outcasted.

In case you have still not come to reality, maybe our letters will snap you back at least partially.

Your behavior is the prime example of why people refuse to accept and learn from the Holocaust.



Saturday, May 31, 2008

This letter was written by a Marianna High school Senior as part of the class's study of the Holocaust. Click on image for an enlarged view.
Enlargement of the photograph he included:

Friday, May 9, 2008

About Silence = Permission

Silence is golden- a phrase we have heard many times in many scenarios. A silent, sleeping child makes us smile. We are silent when we feel it is inappropriate to get involved with two people who are at odds with each other. We are most unfortunately sometimes silent while witnessing a horrific crime because we “don’t want to get involved.” Too many people have been hurt by silence. The silence and fear of retribution from those who stood by and witnessed the Holocaust with all its venom and destruction. Silence is also deafening to the ears because we know some words should be spoken and many people, for a multitude of reasons, are afraid and ashamed to say what is in their hearts and on their minds.

For all the readers who have viewed this website, I want you to know that, regardless of how Misha DeFonseca took full advantage of our kindness and the generosity of those who were willing to financially assist her, we should not feel ashamed in any way in being victimized. We have all helped other people in our respective lifetimes, and some of us have had the misfortune of being deceived and left to deal with our emotions alone. Disappointment, anger, shame, and disbelief are all part of the range of emotions one experiences. Shame should never be the end result. Silence can eat away at your soul and silence gives Misha the permission to continue her lifetime lies. It elevates her ego, adds to her smugness, and strengthens her resolve to continue living as she had, surrounding herself with fresh faces, unaware of her ambitions.

Those who remain silent are alienated from the rest of society and remain unaware of the many others whose trust was violated. Sharing your experiences and emotions with others heightens awareness in the general population. Those who were victimized can, in time, find some inner peace if they can speak their minds. Being a victim of someone’s actions is not a crime-the perpetrators of the crime should be ashamed of themselves for their ugly ambitions and lack of scruples.

It is imperative that you address your negative experiences. A heinous crime has been committed which is irreversible. Spreading awareness of this will not only help in the healing process, but will help the other victims of Misha’s master plans.

Remember – Silence is not always golden.

Hoping to hear from you

Karen Schulman

My Story

My name is Karen Schulman. I am speaking out because I want to share my first-hand experiences with Misha Defonseca and her husband, Maurice.

Misha and her husband lived with me in my home in Milford, Massachusetts for two and a half years. I had heard Misha speak publicly about her amazing experiences during the Holocaust at Borders Bookstore and at a performance at Holliston High School of the play, The Diary of Ann Frank. I was very touched by her story.

I had worked in the department of nursing, telemetry and progressive care unit of Milford Regional Medical Center as a medical secretary and then at the CVS in Medway. One day a neighbor of the Defonsecas came in to fill a prescription. We struck up a conversation and the neighbor said, “Do you know what’s happened to them? They’re about to lose their house to foreclosure.” I was shocked. I phoned the Defonseca’s and Maurice answered the phone. He confirmed what I had been told and added that they had no money and didn’t know what to do. I offered to allow them the use of a wing in my large house consisting of four rooms and a bath until they could get on their feet again. They moved in on June 6, 2001, along with 24 cats and two dogs.

(left, damage to floor caused by cat urine and mold) I didn’t ask for any payment but Misha insisted on giving $500 a month. Misha never helped with any of the housework. They used my kitchen. Misha’s son and his future wife stayed at my house when they came for a visit. Misha wanted them to sleep in the backyard but I didn’t think it was appropriate in my neighborhood for them to camp out. They ended up sleeping on my dining room floor among all the boxes that belonged to Misha.

Maurice had a job in Hopkinton. I allowed him to use my car to drive to work and filled the tank for him. I also drove Misha on errands. I wined and dined them, took them out to dinner often and always paid the tab. At one time I accompanied Misha to Bloomingdales when she spent $250 to $300 on make-up. Once on a shopping trip I saw her hide things she had not paid for under her real purchases and take them from the store. I was so stunned that I questioned if I had actually seen it.

Delivery trucks arrived frequently delivering packages of goods Misha had ordered. I wondered how they could afford these things but assumed that Maurice was making good money in his job in an engineering company.

(left, a few of about a dozen litter boxes) Misha used to say “People are no good” and “Americans are stupid.” “Stupid Americans, stupid Americans,” she said it all the time. She said her son couldn’t qualify for higher education in Belgium where educational standards were high but he could get into a college in the US because the American schools had lower academic standards.

I have known many Holocaust survivors. Misha was very different! For one thing, she didn’t understand any of the Yiddish words I used. When I asked her why, she said her mother never taught her Yiddish. She said, “Hiltler took my first family away” and that’s why she needed so many animals. Misha had a bas mitzvah, I believe in Holliston, and learned to speak Hebrew and to chant from the Torah.

Eventually I got fed up. My friend Barbara Beattie, who also had been taken in by the Defonsecas, urged me to see a lawyer to get them out of my home. When I told them to leave they were angry. How could you do this to us, they demanded.

(left, cat urine damage to rugs) When they finally left, on November 30, 2003, I had $17,000 to $18,000 worth of damage to contend with. I had to have the hardwood floors taken up and replaced because they were saturated with cat urine. I had to remove the wallpaper and carpeting because of cat spray and have the whole area painted. I replaced whole windows that were broken. After they left I learned that they had not lost their home to foreclosure as they claimed, they sold it for $325,000. I learned they were not destitute either. In 2001 when I took them in Maurice earned $70,000 from his job (this figure was on a bankruptcy filing Maurice made.) From my house they moved to their new home in Dudley and paid cash for it, $190,000, plus two brand new cars.

In closing I would say that Misha and Maurice are very manipulative and deceitful. They know exactly how to get what they want from soft hearted people. I feel cheated, exploited, disrespected and abused.


Karen Schulman