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Rena's Promise: Two Sisters in Auschwitz

Rena's Promise: Two Sisters in Auschwitz [Kindle Edition]

Rena Kornreich Gelissen , Heather Dune Macadam
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

"I do not hate. To hate is to let Hitler win." Rena Kornreich Gelissen

"The most important book of the modern age!" Neal Lavon, Voice of America

"The most historically accurate book ever written of the first transport of women into Auschwitz--the only book ever written by a survivor of that transport, who survived 3 years and 41 days in the camps." Irena Strezlecka, Director of the Museum of Women at Auschwitz

On March 26, 1942, the first transport of women arrived in Auschwitz. Among the 999 young Jewish women was Rena Kornreich, the 716th woman numbered in camp. A few days later, her sister Danka arrives and so begins a trial of love and courage that will last 3 years and 41 days, from the beginning Auschwitz death camp to the end of the war.

Rena's Promise stands out from other memoirs in mere length of time she spent in the camps. No other survivor from the first transport has ever written about her experience and what it meant to survive for so long as a peasant and a hard laborer who spent 10-12 hours a day making bricks, pushing lorries, sifting sand, performing cartwheels.... From her escape from Dr. Mengele's experiment detail to her surreal meetings with SS woman Irma Grese, Rena tells a dynamic tale of courage and compassion that reminds us of the resiliency of the human spirit, and the power of people to help one another in unimaginable circumstances, be they Gentile or Jew, German or Pole, kapo or prisoner.

Used in secondary school Holocaust programs.

Recommended for Holocaust collections by the Library Journal.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1303 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Kindle Edition edition (30 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LLIX7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,886 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing account 12 Jan 2005
I've read hundreds of books but none of them has made such an impact as this one. Rena and her sister go through some harrowing experiences and witness things that will bring tears to your eyes. This book will be very hard to put down once you start reading and even when you have finished you will feel compelled to pick it up and start again. There are some pictures to help put faces to names and even a photo of Rena years later, standing outside the camp. Rena is an amazing woman and I hold the highest respect for her. I recommend this book to everyone.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Rena's Promise takes the reader through the Nazi nightmare which awaited Polish Jews. The book effectively uses references to Rena's memories as she tries to cope with life at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Rena's sister Danka becomes the object of her life's struggles: Rena will keep Danka alive, no matter the circumstances. The story which unfolds is one of drama and intrigue, of close calls and fateful decisions, and of hope in a hopeless place.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible endurance 22 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book over a couple of days and was totally immersed from the opening paragraph.

It is almost impossible to believe the initial naivety of Rena and people like her. Her trust that she was going to a work camp until she was freed - until the enormity of thr horrors were realised - bordered on child like faith. However we judge then by our own standards now. The communication network now of Twitter, Facebook, Internet etc means that it would be almost impossible to keep the masses in the dark, but then there was no high speed communication network to inform the poor souls before it was too late.

It is not only a harrowing story but also a heartwarming one. Rena does not condemn all Germans for the outrage and the end of the book is enlightening. I wept at the end of the book; not only for the unspeakable acts that the were heaped upon the camp inmates, but also that I still had faith in humanity that Rena herself keeps. She and her sister and many more people like her are remarkable and should never be forgotten.

I am a better person for having read Rena's book. Thank you Rena
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story of survival 29 Dec 2011
By P. Hume
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the only book I have ever read that has made me inadvertantly use expletives out loud. Like another reviewer I have also visited Auschwitz and Rena's description of entering the gates under the sign 'Arbeit Macht Frei' actually made me shudder. I found it so interesting to read from her perspective and the fact that she was such an innocent young girl entering a place far beyond her worst imagination. Her account really drives home not just the brutal cruelty but also the harsh day to day conditions and I couldn't put this book down. As far as survival stories go this one tops them all so far. I like 'the great outdoors' and am into extreme sports but I was amazed at what Rena suffered, fought and survived against. I have a busy working and home life but I still read this book in three days. Buy it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renas Promise Two sisters in Auschwitz 14 Feb 2011
By Drew
Format:Kindle Edition
This is possibly the best book I have ever read. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the Holocaust through the eyes of someone who was there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Should Be Read By Everyone 9 Aug 2011
I first read this on loan from the Library. I've read many, many books on The Holocaust, and survivors stories, but this one has had a real impact on me. Rena and her younger sister Danka face the horror of Auschwitz with amazing courage and devotion to each other. Rena spares the reader none of the brutality she and Danka both endured and witnessed. The bit where a female Guard orders her dog to kill a young prisoner is stark and heartbreaking. That image stays with me many years on from first reading of this book. Rena's belief that her beloved mother is there in spirit to protect her girls is both beautiful and tragic.

The sisters' determination to live and survive against all odds is humbling and a lesson to us all. If every person is to read just one Holocaust Survival Story then Rena's Promise should be the one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and horrific 23 Feb 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is beautifully written and provides a very accurate and harrowing account. I have visited Auschwitz and found that this account most accurately represented the camp. Nothing could have prepared any of these poor people for what they were about to endure but the fact that Rena retained her humanity is a huge testament to her and to her parents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Rena's Promise' MUST be read by ALL!! 5 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Everyone MUST read 'Rena's Promise'. Especially those of us who live in 'wealthy' countries. Reading Rena and Danka's ordeal will give you a new respect for your life; ergo ALL LIFE. What losses we endure are nothing compared to those who suffered in the Nazi Death Camps. The value of these lessons cannot be measured nor can the price for them be. All testimonies of suffering by the Jews of Europe were paid for in blood. Even a simple quiet evening at home, is to courageous people like Rena and Danka, a luxury. Over and over again we hear the teaching "We must never let this kind of nightmare happen again." ...and yet , it does still. Current 'Ethnic Cleansing' in Bosnia is but one example of how our wealthy countries ignore the horrors of the Evil that men and women do. All too common Political opinion is 'There is nothing monetary to be 'gained' by involving ourselves to assist those persecuted in other countries." I have no doubt that people like Rena and Danka will surely rank among the highest in Heaven. May God Bless them richly and may God help us to attain our collective potential for living a peaceful and respectful life from sharing their story.Please Do Not Deny Yourself This Book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
I have read many, many holocaust books in my lifetime but this is the only one that actually made me cry. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by allison durning
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
a good readable book, these girls managed to survive from the family values before the war. Rena survived by helping her sister not realizing this struggle also maintained her... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Doreen Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I first read this several years ago, and was incredibly moved by Rena's story. Her tenacity, courage and spirit in the face of such inhumanity and unimaginable cruelty is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by clare
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book
Please read this book It is a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of those who lived and died during those terrible years May the inhumanity they experienced from others never... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Monica Atwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - what an amazing book
I have watched many programmes about what happened to the Jewish population during the war and read a few, for a book this was graphic in its explanations. Read more
Published 1 month ago by amber lou
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
A compelling read about two very brave sisters and what they had to endure, could not put it down.
Makes you realise how lucky we are !! .
Published 1 month ago by D G Bingham
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Amazing couldn't stop reading one of my best reads. Very educational it has made me cry and smile very strong women
Published 1 month ago by vlee
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible, READ IT
although i read this book a while ago, i still think about it now, it is absolutely incredible, hard to read at times, fantastic though, please read it!!
Published 1 month ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story
The subject matter of the holocaust is harrowing and very moving. The bravery and tenacity of the survivors is amazing. The cruelty of the captors is appalling. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. R. C. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars must read
As a 28 year old woman living in the U.K. I struggle to believe any of this is possible. I don't mean historically I just mean it's incomprehensible . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Claire
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In this place we cannot be selfish with affection or gratitude. If we don’t say it today there may never be another chance. &quote;
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We learn how to distinguish the kapos by the color triangle they wear: green signifies that she is in for murder; red means she is a political prisoner, and black represents a prostitute or asocial prisoner. &quote;
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Be invisible. That is one of the rules I live by. Those who are too visible eventually get struck down, so I stay in the background and try simply to get by. &quote;
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