A promise kept is like the twinkling stars in the night sky… a constant reminder of something important that makes you who you are. Can nine-year-old Tutti keep a promise – and a secret? Her family’s life may depend on it.
In the early 1930s, life for the Jews is on the brink of ruin: Hitler has come to power, and the golden memories of happy times are fading fast.
One young couple, Margret and Heinz Lichtenstern, decide to flee Germany with their parents and daughter, Tutti. They move to Amsterdam, where Heinz is able to continue his work and where there seems to be hope for the future. Two years later, Tutti’s brother is born, and the family is prospering.
But then Germany invades the Netherlands. And in the pre-dawn hours of May 10, 1940, the Lichtensterns suddenly learn that they have not moved far enough.
This is the true story of what the Lichtensterns endured under the Nazis. Told by Tutti’s daughter, Heidi, and filled with historical documents, it vividly recreates how one family conquered fear and heartbreak to survive. Theirs is a tale of both unimaginable devastation and lucky surprises – raids, sabotage, helpful friends and strangers, and a very special gift.
One family. One remarkable story. And in the end…a promise kept.
Reviews and Awards
“[A] gripping tale. . . . The spirited, realistic dialogue brings the characters to life, and the documents . . . enhance without cluttering the flow. . . . That the family survived to have this powerful, heartening tale told cannot fail to move readers.”
“Young readers will learn history through this personal story, which is told chronologically through short chapters. The fact that 75% of the Jews in the Netherlands perished makes this narrative even more remarkable. Each chapter is enhanced with photographs and documents, which add authenticity to this powerful account written by Tutti’s daughter. History comes alive in Fishman’s capable hands as a writer telling the story of her mother and achieving the family’s eternal desire to always remember.”
—RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books, book review by Michelle Jacobs
“Tutti’s Promise is an engrossing story of hope, family, survival, and identity. What’s more, K. Heidi Fishman’s meticulously researched novel blends drama with facts, inspiring the engaged reader to seek answers through a palpable emotional connection to the past. By drawing the reader into the extraordinary experiences of her family, the author offers us the opportunity to see in her characters our very own selves and loved ones.”
— Stephen D. Smith, PhD, Andrew J. and Erna Finci Viterbi Endowed Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, and Adjunct Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California
“Based on a true story, Tutti’s Promise invites readers to experience one family’s desperate struggle to stay together and retain their humanity during the Holocaust. Fishman’s loving account is a remarkable story of luck, generosity, hope, and courage in the face of atrocity. Suitable for readers ages 10 to adult, this sensitively written and gently told novel illustrates how much the world lost and continues to lose when targeted groups are marginalized as ‘other.’”
— Tom White, Coordinator of Educational Outreach, Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Keene, New Hampshire
“Relevant and important…Heidi Fishman tells the true story of her family’s struggle to stay together and stay alive during man’s darkest period in history. Every Holocaust story should be told, and this one is done well, with heart, and through the sweet innocence of a child’s eyes. Tutti’s Promise will linger long after you’ve put down the book.”
— Rhonda Fink-Whitman, author of 94 Maidens, creator of The Mandate Video, and national Holocaust education advocate