Misha and the Wolves Review

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Misha and the Wolves

Release: 2021-09-03Genre: DocumentaryDuration: 90 minsBudget: $ 0

A woman’s Holocaust memoir takes the world by storm, but a fallout with her publisher-turned-detective reveals her story as an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth.

Misha and the Wolves

Release: 2021-09-03Genre: DocumentaryDuration: 90 minsBudget: $ 0

A woman’s Holocaust memoir takes the world by storm, but a fallout with her publisher-turned-detective reveals her story as an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth.

The Extraordinary Tale of Misha and the Wolves

In the realm of captivating narratives filled with survival and resilience, the feature-length documentary Misha And The Wolves stands out. This gripping film delves into the extraordinary life of Misha Defonseca, a hidden Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Belgium. With an almost fable-like quality, Misha recounts her courageous journey as a seven-year-old, escaping her adoptive Catholic family in search of her deported Jewish parents. Across war-torn Europe, she traversed battlefields, facing unimaginable challenges, and found an unlikely ally in the form of wolves who protected her throughout. It’s a story that sounds almost too incredible to believe, and as it turns out, that’s because it is.

The Unveiling of Deception

Told from the perspective of those who thought they knew her, particularly Jane Daniel, the publisher responsible for bringing Misha’s story to the public eye, the documentary weaves a tale of discovery and deceit. Misha’s story gained global attention, even catching the interest of icons like Oprah Winfrey. However, after a falling out between Misha and her publisher, Jane Daniel embarked on a quest to unravel the inconsistencies within Misha’s tale. Assisted by Evelyne Haendel, a Belgian genealogist with a personal connection to the Holocaust, Daniel revealed the truth about Misha Defonseca—her real name was Monique, and she was neither Jewish nor a hidden child.

Evelyne’s involvement in the investigation showcased her sincere commitment to the truth. As a hidden child herself who lost her parents in the concentration camps, the deception struck a deeply personal chord. Her calm demeanor conveyed a silent pain, as she expressed how the revelations affected not only herself but also the hidden children, their parents, and the Jewish community at large. Against the backdrop of a twisted narrative that could have been adapted into a movie script, Evelyne’s raw emotions provide a heartbreaking reality check.

The Artistry of the Film

Beyond its compelling content, Misha And The Wolves demonstrates exceptional filmmaking. The documentary is visually stunning, skillfully employing creative production techniques and just the right amount of dramatic elements. By designating the key players in the story with titles like “The Publisher” (Jane Daniel), “The Neighbor” (Pat Cunningham), and “The Genealogist” (Evelyne Haendel), the film draws audiences into Misha’s fictional world, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Inadvertently, viewers find themselves complicit in the global deception that subsequently shook the public.

The film’s revelation of the hoax prompted a range of reactions from fans worldwide. Some sought a redemptive narrative, asserting that Misha, in her unique way, was also a Holocaust survivor who genuinely believed her fabricated story as a coping mechanism. Growing up in a Catholic household outside of Brussels and bearing the burden of being known as “the traitor’s daughter” due to her father’s actions under Gestapo interrogation, Misha’s life was undoubtedly marked by hardship. However, the documentary challenges the inclination to empathetically excuse her behavior solely to avoid the discomfort of being deceived.

Holocaust historian Debora Dwork, featured in the film, urges us to question rather than blindly believe. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining historical accuracy and protecting the reality of genuine survivors. While we are driven by a deep desire to believe, it is equally crucial to display an inherent skepticism, guarding against the distortion of historical truths.

An Uncomfortable Truth

Misha And The Wolves not only raises uncomfortable questions but also confronts them head-on with the candid determination that these topics demand. The film highlights how we often distance ourselves from devastating subjects, particularly when we feel detached or believe we lack the right to have an opinion. This detachment can perpetuate damage. Instead, we should embrace subjects like the Holocaust out of respect and a sense of responsibility to protect their integrity.

Misha’s double identity—victim and villain—brings into focus an alarming appropriation of trauma she never experienced. While some may seek to find redemption or understanding in her actions, it is crucial to recognize that appropriating the stories of hidden children undermines their unique narratives. For the sake of all hidden children, their parents, and the Jewish community as a whole, these stories must remain their own.


Misha And The Wolves takes audiences on a rollercoaster journey of deception, uncovering profound truths behind an astonishing tale. It skillfully showcases the intense emotional impact of falsehoods and challenges our inclination to believe blindly. Through compelling storytelling and artful production, this documentary brings to light important questions surrounding uncomfortable subjects, urging us to embrace them with respect and authenticity.


1. How did Misha Defonseca deceive the world for so long?

Misha Defonseca, under her pseudonym Misha, captivated the world with a fabricated account of her life as a hidden Jewish child during the Holocaust. Through a combination of storytelling, book deals, and media attention, she managed to maintain the deception for an extended period. However, her story eventually unraveled when inconsistencies were brought to light by her former publisher, Jane Daniel, and Belgian genealogist Evelyne Haendel.

2. What impact did the revelation of Misha’s deception have on her publisher, Jane Daniel?

The revelation of Misha’s deceit had devastating consequences for her publisher, Jane Daniel. A messy lawsuit left Daniel in immense debt and tarnished her professional reputation. She became determined to uncover the truth, leading her on a mission to investigate the inconsistencies in Misha’s story. Her efforts ultimately exposed the deceptive nature of Misha’s claims.

3. How did Evelyne Haendel’s personal experiences contribute to the investigation?

Evelyne Haendel, a Belgian genealogist involved in the investigation, had a deeply personal connection to the Holocaust. As a hidden child herself, who tragically lost both of her parents in the concentration camps, Haendel felt a genuine commitment to uncovering the truth. Her testimony and dedication to the investigation added a significant layer of authenticity to the uncovering of Misha’s deception.

4. How did the film address the public’s initial reaction to the scandal?

Misha And The Wolves explores the public’s reaction to the scandal surrounding Misha’s deception. It depicts how some individuals tried to find redemptive narratives for Misha, suggesting that she might have been a Holocaust survivor in her own way. However, the film challenges this approach, emphasizing the importance of questioning and maintaining historical accuracy in the face of such fabricated tales.

5. What is the lasting impact of Misha’s deception on the hidden children, their parents, and the Jewish community?

The revelation of Misha’s deception has had a profound impact on the hidden children, their parents, and the Jewish community. It exposes the appropriation of their collective traumas and undermines the authenticity of their stories. The film emphasizes the importance of preserving the integrity of their experiences and highlights the need to respect and protect their narratives.