Heather Macadam's Reviews > Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz

Rena's Promise by Rena Kornreich Gelissen
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Mar 06, 2011

(Review from the author)
it was amazing
Read in January, 2011

"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 at Brown University in the Psychology Dept and in Holocaust programs at the college and secondary school levels.


Recommended for Holocaust collections by the Library Journal.
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