Author of Holocaust book visits Pizitz
May 6, 2019 -- On April 3rd, 2019, Karen “Heidi” Fishman was invited to speak to the student body of Louis Pizitz Middle School. Heidi, author of Tutti’s Promise and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, spoke of her inspirations for her book, as well as the dehumanizing strife her mother, the main character in the novel, suffered first hand. Her words hung heavy in the silent atmosphere as she recalled the narrative of her mother. A feeling that would fail to be manufactured stuck to each person like honey, likewise natural and fulfilling. The sincerity behind Heidi’s words alienated any suspicion of attempted provocation as she spoke about the Holocaust and sinister regime of the Nazi party that plagued the Jewish population of Europe during the early-mid 20th century.
I, along with the rest of the 6th grade of Pizitz, had the gratifying opportunity to meet with the writer for an orderly rendezvous during our Social Studies class before the school assembly. We asked about the process of gathering information for her book, as well as the time it took to fully complete and publish Tutti’s Promise. She responded with a stout yet boggling answer that the research for her book had taken her around 5 years to collect, while simultaneously writing. She warbled a spiel on the details a novel must possess, such as angles in which a character may face while staring at something, or the routes a character may take, in order to obtain plausibility. Her professionalism complimented her book as well, as she spoke of details about writing that many people who may not be familiar with the process of publishing a book might not have known.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed both of her well thought out presentations. They conveyed emotion and passion, while facts and recollections balanced it out. Her brilliant words and sensory imagery was both a satisfying and eye opening experience that everyone appreciated. I am using the term “eye opening” one hundred percent confidently and certainly. Heidi had built a manifestation of the deep contrast a sympathetic family at the mercy of the Holocaust and a modern day student at a seemingly extravagant school shared. She provided insight of the trauma her mother faced, something that many children would never even imagine.
Previously that day, I had been taught the term, “Nicht Vergessen” in my German class, a phrase that translates to “never forget.” We discussed how the once bright German heritage and posterity has been tainted by the war. Germany has become a country in which patriotism has become a sensitive mannerism and even looked down upon because of its potential to snowball into nationalism. You may find seldom Deutschland flags within the borders of Germany, or may never hear a German speaker utter the word nationalism because it sounds strikingly similar to the word nazi. These mannerisms are engraved into German sociality. Germans have been taught to “Nicht Vergessen”, and to make sure the collective guilt every German person still feels when faced with the subject of both world wars squashes any future acts of downright nationalism.
Heidi had also spoken about the different rules in Germany now, and how greatly both world wars have impacted not just Germany, or Europe, but the whole world. She told us that strife doesn’t only reside in the hearts of opposing country, or the country most affected, but everyone as a whole. We cannot erase detestable occurrences from our past. We are taught to forgive and forget, but such vile things cannot be forgotten. For that, everyone will “Nicht Vergessen.”
-- Submitted by Ethan Schmidt, a student at Louis Pizitz Middle School.