GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

August 29, 2008

Does the truth count?

The judge hearing the case of a Gloucester publisher seeking dismissal of a $32.4 million judgment from a writer's lawsuit questioned yesterday whether the truth of an allegedly falsified Holocaust memoir may even be a factor in the civil case now before Middlesex Superior Court.

Gloucester attorney Joseph Orlando, representing Jane Daniel of the Mount Ivy Press, filed a motion to vacate a seven-year-old judgment stemming from Daniel's 1997 publishing of "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years" — a story told by Misha Defonseca with the help of ghost writer Vera Lee.

Last February, Defonseca reportedly admitted that she never lived with wolves as she escaped the Holocaust, nor did she ever wander through Europe as a seven-year-old girl, as the story depicts.

Judge Timothy Feeley said he viewed yesterday's hearing as "somewhat preliminary." He told the parties he planned to ask many questions to help him determine the legal issues. Feeley said he had no prior knowledge of the case until he saw the files yesterday morning.

There was substantial discussion regarding the statute of limitations, which may vary depending on which section of law may be deemed to apply. But then Feeley raised what many view as a fundamental issue.

"Is it important that it was a work of fiction or a memoir?" Feeley asked at one point during the hearing. "I have trouble seeing how this new information changes the extent of the wrong found to be inflicted," said Feeley.

The judge said he would take the case under advisement and he would notify all parties should further information be sought from them.

The Belgian-born Defonseca — who served as her own attorney — and Lee's lawyer both argued that the truth of the tale didn't even matter. They said the verdict and appeal rendered that Daniel mishandled royalties and the U.S. marketing of the book, which had been a best-seller in Europe and was made into a French film,

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers