Exclusive: Holocaust Faker Speaks Out

His touching story was false, but "in [his] imagination, it was true."

ByABC News via logo
February 18, 2009, 7:37 AM

Feb. 18, 2009 — -- Oprah Winfrey called it the "greatest love story" she'd ever had on her show.

The love story was so touching, that Hollywood is even making a movie about it.

Herman Rosenblat received international attention for his tale about being a hungry little boy in a Nazi concentration camp who was thrown apples every day by a little girl named Roma, on the other side of the fence.

Years later, according to the story, Rosenblat met that same girl on a blind date in New York City and proposed to her on the spot.

The only problem was, Rosenblat's story, which he and his wife had been telling for 13 years, was a lie.

Six weeks ago Holocaust scholars proved that it was physically impossible for prisoners to approach the fence at the concentration camp where Herman was kept and that Roma's family was actually 200 miles away at the time.

Today, for the first time, Rosenblat spoke out in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" to share his side of the story.

"It wasn't a lie," he told "GMA." "It was my imagination. And in my imagination, in my mind, I believed it. Even now, I believe it, that she was there and she threw the apple to me. ... In my imagination, it was true."

Rosenblat said he told the story to give people hope and to promote understanding about the Holocaust. His wife went along with the story because, as Rosenblat said, she "loved" him.

But even Rosenblat's son said his real motivation was money.

"It was always hurtful," Rosenblat's son Ken Rosenblat told The New Republic. "My father is a man who I don't know. ... I didn't agree with it. I didn't want anything to do with it."

"I can't respond to it," Rosenblat said of his son's comments. "I don't know why he said that. Maybe I'll ask him."

There certainly is money. The Rosenblats were offered both a movie and a book deal.

Before he was exposed, Rosenblat sold his memoir, "Angel at the Fence," to Berkley Books; the publishing company's deal was later canceled.

A children's book called "Angel Girl" was published in September, but was also pulled by its publishing company.

Nevertheless, a reported $25 million film version of the fictional story called "Flower of the Fence" is going to proceed.