December 24th, 2008
12:00 PM ET

The greatest love story ever sold

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2005/WORLD/europe/05/10/berlin.holocaust/story.berlin3.afp.jpg caption="The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany."]
Gabriel Sherman
The New Republic

On February 3, Berkley Books, the mass-market division of the Penguin Group, is slated to publish a Holocaust memoir titled Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived. The author, Herman Rosenblat, who is a retired television repairman now living in Miami, recounts his experience as a teenage boy during the Holocaust at Schlieben, a sub-division of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp. In the winter of 1945, Herman meets a nine-year-old girl–herself a Jew masquerading as a Christian at a nearby farm–when she shows up one day outside the camp and tosses him an apple over the barbed-wire fence. For the next seven months, the girl at the fence delivers Herman food each day, until he is suddenly transferred to another camp. Fast forward to Coney Island, 1957: Herman, now in his 20s and settled in New York, reluctantly agrees to a blind date with a young Polish immigrant named Roma Radzicki. They speak of their time during the war. Roma mentions a boy she had helped to survive in a camp. She said she fed him apples. A flash of recognition. Months later, Herman marries Roma, his angel at the fence.


Filed under: Gabriel Sherman