The Apple

Holt, Penelope. The Apple. New York: York House Press, 2009.

Can I call this book righting a wrong? While it doesn’t go that far, I feel like it goes a long way to making a once-ugly story beautiful again.

The Apple is a love story based on “the Herman Rosenblat Holocaust Love Story.” If you don’t know anything about the Herman Rosenblat story The Apple is a sweet tale about how a young Jewish boy survives the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald. If you do know Rosenblat’s story The Apple becomes an explanation, a reasoning for the fabrication of a once-true (but not) romance during war; a story of love in hell. It give the lie a little more reason, if you will.

Rosenblat is a Holocaust survivor who claimed to have met his future wife during his imprisonment at Buchenwald. He was 15 and she was 9. He claimed she kept him alive by throwing an apple a day over the barbed wire fence, unbeknownst the to guards and other prisoners. Years later, supposedly reunited by a blind date, they fall in love and have been married ever since. Their story attracted the attention of the media and soon they were the darlings of the talk show circuit, including Oprah. Quickly, a book and movie deal were in the works. This amazing story needed to be told. Imagine everyone’s surprise when historians and holocaust survivors alike started crying foul. Details didn’t add up and soon Rosenblat was admitting he fabricated scenarios and embellished details. But, what of the wife? Surely she needed to corroborate the story in order to make it the romance of the century?

At times I found The Apple difficult to read. The subject matter is sobering, the details are intense. While it is considered a work of fiction, Hitler’s reign of terror really did happen. Concentration camps like Buchenwald and Treblinka existed as communities of torture and slavery. There is no denying the pain that Herman Rosenblat suffered and survived. Holt’s account of that time is raw and unflinching. Her writing is as strong as Rosenblat’s desire to bring a beautiful end to an otherwise painful history.


6 Comments on “The Apple”

  1. donna says:

    penelope holt has made holocaust hero herman rosenblat once again a national treasure. as an author she has told his beautiful story of love and the apple with amazing grace. a wonderful story of courage and hope. herman rosenblat is an amazing man and she is an amazing writer. what a wonderful story of inspiration! kudos to the rosenblat and holt team!

  2. gr4c5 says:

    I have to agree!

  3. jason says:

    i read holt is rosenblat’s publicist! what a rip.

  4. jeanne says:

    great link on book and rosenblat:

  5. lizette says:

    herman rosenblat is a monster. he is a national disgrace and a lair who made up a story about the death of six million jews. the author tries to justify what he did and repair the public image of this terrible man. it is a shame those responsible still try to distribute this book and tell his story. they have decided to give the book away for free as a last resort. it should continue to be totally ignored.

    • gr4c5 says:

      I think everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion but I also believe negative statements about other people should come with some kind of first-hand knowledge. Proof in the pudding… as they say.


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