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WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - A Holocaust survivor whose memoir was canceled late last year after the publisher found out that his love story was not true said he had simply made a mistake.
"I made a mistake and I want America to forgive me for that mistake, but I didn't mean no harm to anybody," Herman Rosenblat, 79, said in his first interview since the book was canceled in December.
Speaking from Florida, where he lives, Rosenblat said in a video posted on YouTube on Tuesday night that he had been confused about what was real. (here)
For years, Rosenblat told newspapers, magazines and television programs the story of how he met his wife-to-be when he was a teen-age prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp at Schlieben in Germany and that she had thrown apples and bread across a fence to him.
"Fifteen years ago, I started to write my memoir and my wife came to me and told me that when she was hiding in Germany she went ahead and threw an apple over the fence to a boy and I believed it was me. In my head, I believed it was me ... and I still believe it's me," Rosenblat said in the video.
He added he believed the girl was an angel sent by his mother, who died in the Holocaust.
Rosenblat, a Polish-born retired electrical contractor who now lives in North Miami Beach, Florida, said in his memoir that they had met again by chance on a blind date in New York years later, fallen in love and got married.
The book, "Angel at the Fence, The True Story of a Love that Survived," was canceled by Berkley Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group, after Rosenblat's agent, Andrea Hurst, said he had invented part of the book.
The memoir, which had been due to be published in February, came under public scrutiny after several scholars in an article in The New Republic magazine challenged some of the claims in the book that was also set to be made into a movie.
Harris Salomon, president of Atlantic Overseas Pictures is pushing ahead with plans to make a feature film, with shooting due to start in Hungary this summer.
Rosenblat's story will also be made into a fictional book to be published by York House Press. The novel, entitled "The Apple" is slated for spring.
"His story is basically true. The part that he made up was the part about the apples, about his love story, which unfortunately was blown out of proportion by the U.S. media," Salomon told Reuters.
Reporting by Sandra Mahler, Editing by Leslie Gevirtz