Diana Fabricates Another Holocaust Story, This Time About Her Own Family

According to an article Vanity Fair posted yesterday, the upcoming Nyad biopic “doesn’t paint [her] as a liar.” If that’s true, then Diana’s latest Holocaust exploitation tale proves the filmmakers didn’t have a clue about their subject.

During the COVID lockdown, Diana Nyad took members of her walking group,  EverWalk, on two virtual journeys: one from Cuba to Florida  (Diana walked on water!) and another along le chemin de la liberté, “The Freedom Trail.”

Those who signed up monitored their progress using a step-tracking app, WalkerTracker. For the Freedom Trail journey, they followed “the actual story of Diana Nyad’s mother Lucy” and her “escape from the Nazis over the famous Chemin de la Liberté in the Pyrenees.”

Virtual EverWalk detail

For those of us who missed the virtual Pyrenees walk, Diana kindly posted an abridged version of her tale, “My Mother’s Journey to Freedom” (archived). Here’s a summary:
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Band of Others: The Lies In Diana Nyad’s “My Mother’s Journey to Freedom”

A summary of the lies in Diana Nyad’s EverWalk journey over the Pyrenees.

[For context, please see “Diana Fabricates Another Holocaust Story, This Time About Her Family.”]

As often happens with Nyad’s tales, this one inflated over time until the last version bore little resemblance to the original.

In 2013, Diana wrote on Facebook that her  “mom came to the States from Paris during WWII.” She left it at that.

In a 2014 New Yorker profile, Diana says Lucy was 17 when the war reached Paris. She joined “a group of people” who bicycle and walk through southern France, then crossed the Pyrenees on foot.

In Find a Way (2015), Diana says her mom was 15  when the German army reached Paris. Her uncle and aunt worry for her safety, so they send her back to the U.S.

Nyad’s Pyrenees prevarications peaked in 2020 with her EverWalk version (archived). So, let’s take it step by step.
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Pyrenees Research Update: The Cuba–Florida Virtual Walk Description

Diana Nyad’s written description of her Florida Straits virtual walk contains some of her usual lies as well as an omission that’s heartless, thoughtless, or some combination of both.

Above: Walter Poenisch crossing the Florida Straits in 1978. Via “Lost at Sea: Walter Poenisch, his Cuba-to-Florida swim, and his stolen honor.” Diana Nyad includes this image in her Cuba-Florida walking notes without giving the source and without naming Poenisch.

Nyad includes old standbys like the one about her Cuba-Florida precursors:

The best men and women swimmers had made their valiant attempts. (notes, part 1)

(Only six have attempted the crossing.) And her mother-of-all box jellyfish lies:

Most people who have ever been touched by the Box have died instantaneously. (notes, part 1)

(Most people survive box jelly stings.)

Nyad’s Breathtaking Lie of Omission

In part two of her notes, Nyad acknowledges one of her two successful predecessors, an “Australian woman named Susie Mulroney” (it’s “Maroney”), but she doesn’t mention the other, Walter Poenisch, the man whose life she destroyed.

However, she includes a photo from his crossing (see above). I’m not sure if she meant her EverWalkers to think it’s Maroney, or if it’s Nyad’s way of acknowledging-without-acknowledging the man about whom she said,

He does not swim by the rules. He’s a gimmick. He’s a cheat. In the world of sports, he’s a cheat. (New York Times, 14 Jul 1978)


With all due respect to the aged, a man who’s 64 years old and very overweight is not going to swim for two days nonstop. (Miami Herald, 26 June 1978)

How about a woman who was 64 years old and had lied for 40 years nonstop?