THE PLANK DECEMBER 28, 2008
The Rosenblat family is coming to terms with the revelations exposed by TNR that Herman Rosenblat lied about his love story that he met his future wife outside the fence of the Schlieben concentration camp, which formed the central premise of his Holocaust memoir, Angel at the Fence. This afternoon, I spoke with Herman's son Ken Rosenblat, who is still stunned by his father's deception. Ken told me by phone
that he had in fact known of his parents' lie for many years but hadn't
been able to stop them. "My father is a man who I don’t know. I can’t
understand it. It’s not my way of thinking," Ken said. "I didn’t agree
with it. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I tried to just stay
away from it. It was always hurtful. I just never dealt with it."
For Ken, his father's invented story is especially painful. Herman says he fabricated the story while recovering from a shooting at his electronics store in Brooklyn which left him critically injured in the hospital. Ken was also shot, and today remains in a wheelchair. "It’s something I don’t like to talk about. It’s not something I like to live with," Ken said.
I asked Ken how his parents could have lived a double life for some 15
years, he explained that for his mother, who survived the Holocaust as
a child by hiding as a Polish Catholic, living with an assumed identity
was almost natural. "My mother lived a life of hiding. It was natural
for them to lie, to cheat, and this is something that they lived with,"
he told me. "This is something they knew, and they lived. And they
continually lived with that. It’s very difficult for my father to
confront what they’ve done."
Even after the news had broken, he said he had barely spoken with his father.