Netflix documentary film investigates Holocaust hoax

‘Misha and the Wolves’ follows feigned story from ‘survivor’



Misha Defonseca is the subject of the film’s controversial Holocaust hoax.

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

Documentaries are my thing, but never in all of my viewing experience has the subject of a film ever filled me with so much rage.  

Serial killers, true crime and psychoanalysis, none of these have hit me as hard as “Misha and the Wolves” did. 

Although this documentary was released in August, the weight of the film will be the same now as it will ever be. 

After images of starved bodies, separated families, mountains of shoes and wedding rings and concentration camps are forever forged into your brain from studying the Holocaust, it is hard to ever take it as anything other than serious. Because it is.  

In this Netflix documentary, the film follows the heart-wrenching story of a young girl, Misha Defonseca, who was said to have escaped Nazi deportation by trekking through the woods and becoming family with the wolves in order to survive until she was rescued.  

This story may seem familiar, as it was made into a book, titled “Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years” and eventually a French movie, “Survivre Avec les Loups,” both of which were universally popular.  

Defonseca toured Europe, met with students, spoke about her heartfelt story and received donations from local synagogues and neighbors in large sums. 

She was even offered a deal by Oprah and presented with an adaptation from Disney. 

The trailer intrigued me as it introduced the wondrously unbelievable story. There is a reason it seems too mystical to be true: it is a lie. 

Invalidating someone’s experiences, especially in relation to the Holocaust, is an unthinkable concept. This is the struggle faced by Jane Daniel, her small-town Massachusetts publicist, who faced legal battles against Defonseca and the potential of losing everything as Misha claimed Daniel capitalized on her suffering. Daniel met this internal conflict when she began to notice discrepancies in Defonseca’s story, and that is where her investigation began.  

This proved to be an investigation of redemption and also of justice for those who truly suffered and survived the effects of the Holocaust.  

In her investigative journey, Daniel called upon a real Holocaust hidden child who lost her family to the Nazi regime — Evelyne Haendel, who was also a Belgian genealogist as a result of her experiences and search for justice for children like herself, and children like Defonseca claimed to be. 

As a team, Daniel and Haendel discredit the lies and uncover the truth about Defonseca’s true identity, and the reasons behind her fake identity, which are inexcusable for the magnitude of her lies. 

To see how the story unfolds, stream “Misha and the Wolves” on Netflix. 


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