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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing account, 12 Jan 2005
By 
Joanne Palmer "bimbojo13" (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz (Hardcover)
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible endurance, 22 July 2011
By 
A. J. Tainty (Dyserth, N. Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many details of life at Auschwitz make Rena's story great., 17 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz (Hardcover)
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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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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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 (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
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
This review is from: Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz (Hardcover)
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
By 
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Remarkable Story of Human Spirit!, 29 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This is a highly spiritual story, saying that even through the worst of times, when all else is gone, the presence of love gives us hope and hope gives us strength. It is the remarkable story of a woman who has dealt with the worst, and yet we can relate to her story because she is so straightforward and very much like us. Throughout, Rena shows how all external complications of civilized life are stripped away and survival is nourished by any hint of a human soul. Humanity can be found in varying degrees and transcends rank, power and "race". An offering of a fellow prisoner's bread lends the will to go on, and the love for her sister lends her the strength to survive over three years within a system geared toward mass killing. Yet, Rena always keeps in mind the element of chance and the memory of those who were not so lucky. This is the female version of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first real favourite book., 4 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book after my mum had borrowed it from a neighbour, but eventually, after I had borrowed it 6 more times, I decided to buy my own copy. Once you have started you'll find it is genuinely a book you cannot put down and will never forget. Every high and low point makes this book the best I have ever read- the fact that it is all true makes it all the more poignant.
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Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz
Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz by Rena Gelissen (Hardcover - 8 July 1996)
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