This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Tutti's Promise is an historical fiction novel for preteens and young adults written by K. Heidi Fishman. Ruth (Tutti) Lichtenstern was a small child when her parents moved from Germany to the Netherlands over their concerns about the political situation and rising anti-Semitism in their home country. Her father, Heinz, worked in the metals industry and had been able to continue managing his business after the move, and her parents had another child, a boy, Robbie, in their new country. Several years later, however, they realized that moving to the Netherlands would not protect them from Hitler and the Nazis -- they had not moved far enough away. All of the attempts they and their friends made to protect them failed to stop their eventual transfer to a Jewish building, and then to a Nazi camp.
According to the author's note, only five percent of the Jews living in the Netherlands, who had been sent to a camp, survived the experience. While a number of Jews were able to go into hiding and weren't sent to camps, only 25 percent of the approximately 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands before the war survived. Tutti's family, her parents, brother, and paternal grandparents were able to stay together, for the most part, throughout the year and a half they were in the camp system. Tutti is still active in speaking at schools to share her experiences during the war; her daughter, realizing this is the last generation of children who will actually get to hear the words of the survivors, and wanting her mother's tale to go on being told, wrote this book. She includes her family's tree, a glossary of foreign words and phrases, mostly in German, and Historical Notes organized by chapter.
I have read many survivors' accounts and historical fiction novels based on the Second World War and the Holocaust. It's hard but ultimately so inspiring to hear the stories of those who did make it through the impossible and unthinkable, especially those like Tutti, who have made it their life's work to inform succeeding generations, to ensure that their experiences at the hands of their fellow human beings is never forgotten. The more recent memoirs and novels such as this are memorable as they have been written by those who were children when sent to the camps -- the rare few who somehow escaped the literal death sentence passed on children and the elderly before ever walking through the gates of the camps. Why never forget? Because there's an ever present danger of the marginalization of others, of deciding that some are less human or less deserving of dignity, respect and life because of their religion, race or other status.
Reading Tutti's Promise makes Tutti and her family's struggles during their time in the camps and afterwards so real. There are so many poignant and unforgettable moments: Max's easing the terrifying train ride with his comedy and joking, Heinz's last-minute reprieve from that final train ride east to Auschwitz, Robbie's jubilation at finding treats -- the cast-off orange peels left by camp guards. Best of all is the shared triumph of those who did survive and remembrance of those who perished. Tutti's Promise may be historical fiction based on fact, but it rings as true and memorable as any memoir I've read. While it's listed as children's literature and will particularly appeal to the young, given Tutti’s age and outlook on her experiences, I recommend it most highly for readers of all ages.