Tatae’s Promise — an epic historical fiction book — based on the true story of Hinda Mondlak’s amazing survival during the Holocaust and her daring escape from Auschwitz with her younger sister.
— By Sherry Maysonave and Moises J. Goldman
“As a student of the Holocaust and one who interviewed Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah History Foundation, I thought I had heard it all. Now, I know I was wrong. This is not your ordinary Holocaust story. Do yourself a favor. Find out for yourself.”
Founder and CEO, LifeStories Alive, LLC
Holocaust Survivors Interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah History Foundation
Story of “The Spoons”
In December of 1942, a spoon and a small bowl were issued to Hinda Mondlak at the Auschwitz concentration camp. She was told that if she lost either of those eating utensils, she would lose the right to eat, no others would be issued. No storage was provided. Hinda, and all prisoners, kept their eating utensils in their uniforms, including during their long twelve-hour workdays at sometimes hazardous workstations. Hinda managed to keep hers throughout her time—two full years—at Auschwitz, where she used it to eat the meager camp rations—thin gruel and stale bread.
At the time of her escape from Auschwitz, Hinda took the spoon with her. She kept it secreted away through all her travails and travels afterward. Unbeknownst to Wolf, Hinda fed both of their children from it when they were babies. For her, it was healing to use the spoon to scoop up thick, nutritious food for Moises and Sara, who she prayed would never eat gruel, starve, or be under the dominion of cruel, hateful people.
The spoon’s underside handle is stamped with the official motif of the German government under Hitler’s reign, the Nazi eagle sitting atop a crown. Manufactured by the German company, Kriegsmarine, the spoon sported multiple markings, such as the letters ROSTFREI, which indicated it was made from an alloy, of steel and chromium, that resisted rust.
Hinda’s daughter, Sara Goldman, is still in possession of the spoon today. In December of 2022, Sara graciously mailed it to her brother, Moises, so that it could be photographed for use on the book cover of Tatae’s Promise.
Tatae’s Promise: You will live… you will tell is based on eleven audio tapes recorded by Hinda Mondlak Goldman, the mother of co-author Moises J. Goldman, in the months prior to her death in 1985. Speaking in Yiddish and Spanish, Hinda chronicles her torture at the hands of the Nazis, her escape from Auschwitz, her subsequent travails, her fear of Nazis and Russian soldiers, her search for true love, and her immigration to Mexico City.
Rich in history, this book does not shy away from describing the heinous atrocities and despicable living conditions that were forced upon Hinda and millions of people—Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romani people, and homosexuals—under the reign of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime. Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. That reflects the number of those accounted for and does not include the millions of Jews who were persecuted and displaced. The estimated total killed by the Nazi regime nears fourteen million.
Why is this book timely and important?
Today, decades after the world was shocked and horrified by the mass genocide and unjust persecution during Hitler’s reign, millions of people still suffer, living under dictatorial regimes. Additionally, millions of people continue to be innocent victims of brutal wars or civil conflicts, often facing routine hatred, racism, starvation, ethnic or religious suppression, arrest, atrocities, and even genocide.
The world needs more engaging literary works that expose these perils and highlight inspirational and timeless themes. Tatae’s Promise, based on actual events, achieves exactly that objective. The book tells the real-life story of a young woman’s almost unimaginable courage and determination to survive in the face of what seemed to be insurmountable horrors. In the end, Hinda Mondlak triumphs over the Nazi Regime and Adolph Hitler’s “Final Solution”. Moreover, throughout the story, she experiences countless miracles engendered by her bold, irrepressible spirit, her faith, and her fierce love of family.