Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. Please take some time to look around. Here you will find:

If you think I have missed anything let me know.
Thanks for stopping by,
Heidi


LATEST NEWS

The USHMM has approved Tutti’s Promise to be available in their book shop I will be doing a second book signing in Washington D.C.!
I’ll be there 1-4pm on both Oct 22 and Oct 23. Come by and say “Hi” if you are in town!

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I just spent a wonderful day at Loomis Chaffee School discussing moral courage, helping my mother tell her Holocaust story, and discussing research with students in a history class. Thank you Loomis Chaffee for asking your students to be their best selves!

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Tutti’s Promise is now available at ten independent bookstores in Vermont!

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LATEST PRESS

Tutti’ and Heidi Fishman ’80 Tell of Family’s Holocaust Survival September 28, 2017

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For a standing-room-only audience in the Hubbard Performance Hall on Tuesday, Holocaust survivor Ruth “Tutti” Lichtenstern Fishman recounted the harrowing story of her childhood escape with her family from Nazi extermination during World War II.

Ruth and her daughter, K. Heidi Fishman ’80, shared the account with the freshman class and other community members in a special session of the Freshman Seminar in the Common Good. Heidi accompanied her mother on stage to help explain images and statistics projected on the screen behind them and to give historical context to her mother’s personal narrative. Much of the projected information was from extensive research that Heidi conducted into her family’s past when she was writing Tutti’s Promise, a novel published early this year, based on her family’s story of endurance.

The Nazis killed six million Jewish people during the Holocaust, said Tutti. “To give you some perspective, six million people is roughly twice the population of the state of Connecticut,” she told the crowd gathered for her talk. “But my story has a happy ending,” Tutti added. She is one of only 100 child survivors among the 15,000 children sent through the Theresienstadt ghetto-camp located in what is now the Czech Republic.

Born in Germany in 1935, Tutti moved with her family to the Netherlands in 1936 before World War II broke out. Tutti recounted how life for herself, her family, and other Jewish people in Holland became severely restricted. She showed a photo of the identification card that Jews were forced to carry and a photo of herself and her classmates at a segregated Jewish-only school taken in 1942. Young Tutti could travel only on designated Jewish public transport, she explained, and she and her family, like all Jewish families, eventually were forced to leave their home and valuables and sent to live in a Jewish-only ghetto.

Tutti described how she and her brother, who both were children at the time, “did as we were told” in the interminable registration and transferring processes imposed upon them by the Nazi regime, enroute first to a transit camp in Westerbork and then to Theresienstadt.

“It was always, ‘Schnell! Schnell!'” which meant “Hurry up!” in German, Tutti explained, and there were continual threats of being “sent east,” which was code for being sent to an extermination camp.

She shared details she remembers about daily life and work in the camps. Showing a picture of a well-worn doll that her father had given her early in their long odyssey, she explained that her father had filled the doll’s hollow head with money and instructed her never to let the doll out of her sight because the family might need the money one day. As promised, Tutti kept the doll with her at all times until very recently bequeathing it to the Museum of Jewish Civilization at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Her father’s work as an international metal trader and his forethought to obtain a Paraguayan passport proved to be instrumental in the family’s survival, Tutti said. He was moments away from being forced aboard a train at Theresienstadt destined for a death camp when his passport stayed his departure.

The camp was liberated by the Russians, and the captives were further aided by the United States Army in the spring of 1945. Tutti showed a picture of a U.S. soldier she called her “first crush,” a young man whose name she still remembers, Lloyd Miller, who gave her some chewing gum. Shortly afterwards, her family made their home once again in Amsterdam. Tutti eventually moved to the U. S. and made her home in West Hartford in 1958. Her children, Heidi and Peter L. Fishman ’78, attended Loomis Chaffee.

Bearing witness to history has the power to help humanity endure and even transcend evil, which is why Tutti and Heidi were invited to speak at Freshman Seminar, said Eric LaForest, the Keller Family Director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good. He thanked them for sharing their family’s story of moral courage with Loomis students.

Sponsored by the Norton Center, their visit to Loomis was made possible from the Carolyn Belfer ’86 Fund for Jewish Life. To learn more, connect to the Norton Center’s page of the Loomis website.


The picture in the background was taken in the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. It is a memorial to the 80,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia murdered during the Holocaust.

“Heidi’s presentation to our Upper School (Grades 7-9) was terrific. She engaged the students with her story, and she shared details that made it come alive to them. The subject matter is not easy, but it’s importance is clear, and Heidi delivered a valuable lesson through the lens of her family’s experience. We wish we had more time with her.”

Tony Scherer Head, Upper School English Department, Renbrook School

I found it very interesting to learn the process of how she wrote the book and I think it will help me with my future writing experiences. -Emily

It was fascinating to see how the daughter of a Holocaust survivor cared so deeply to write a book about how her mother had faith and courage to tell her story. -Julia

I thought that having you here gave me and all of us an amazing experience to hear what your mother went through. -Peyton

I learned a lot from Heidi. She gave me new techniques to improve my writing. -Emma

I thought it was very cool that you still had all those pictures of your family. -Siya

Students — Ellington Middle School

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