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

Rena Kornreich Gelissen , Heather Dune Macadam
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: CDN$ 4.38 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Imagining that, by volunteering for a work camp, she would somehow be protecting her family from the Nazis, Rena, at age 17, put on her best clothes, left her fiance and the Polish village of Tylicz in the Carpathian Mountains and was sent off to Auschwitz. Presently, her sister Danka arrived, as did cousins, schoolmates and neighbors. As a child, she had promised her mother to look after her baby sister, and that promise obsessed her throughout her incarceration in the camp. It gave her reason to survive, so that one day she could bring Danka safely home. How they escaped starvation, beatings, the crematorium, the medical experiments of the notorious Josef Mengele and survived the end of the war is all recounted here in this spirited survivor's testament, written with freelancer Macadam. After the war, Rena married a Red Cross worker and emigrated to the U.S., following her sister.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Gelissen, who was on the first Jewish transport to Auschwitz, describes in this account the constant struggle for survival in the camp. She soon learns there were no guarantees. Rena's motivation came strongly from a promise to her parents to keep her younger sister, Danka, safe. Her account describes the relentless specter of death while at the same time showing how prisoners would risk their lives to smuggle medicine, clothes, and food to other prisoners. Because Rena was an early prisoner in Auschwitz, she describes some of the confusion at the beginning and the realization of what was really happening to the Jewish people. Helpful features of the book include historical notes and a section describing the fate of the people the sisters knew. This memoir captures the horror of Auschwitz in a clear way that helps the reader understand the atrocities perpetrated there. Recommended for Holocaust collections.
Mary Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Lib., Wheeling
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1303 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Kindle Edition edition (Jan. 30 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LLIX7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,585 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More than words can say!!!! March 17 2004
A deeply moving and vivid story of survival! I will think of Rena and Danka on May 2nd of every year and always when I see red and white carnations together! I've read numerous books on the holocaust, from memoirs, bios, etc., this one was so moving! Highly recommend!!!! Let us all NEVER forget!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best account ever June 18 2003
rena's promis is one of the best accounts of consintration camps i have ever read. it shows how two sisters fight together and stand together when all the odds are against them. rena never leaves her sister's side and together, they stand up to the forces against them, and bake it through the consintration camps together. this book was heart wrenching, but you always love the two girls and the people who help them through out the book. this book makes you want to just run up and give these two girls a hug; it really is one of the best accounts of the brutality of the S.S. i have ever read, and i will always remember this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving And Beautifull Feb. 8 2003
Rena's Promise is a most moving and beautifull Holocaust book, and without all the gore, it still shows the atrocity that was hapenning during the holocaust. Rena also manages to stay un-bitter about her past in the Dark War, making this book a classic memoir to the dead. Astonishing and breath taking, you will be held captive by the past, held in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What an AWESOME book-movie material big time! Nov. 11 2002
This is the best Holocaust book I have read so far. It was touching, sad, and really heartwarming. Like most books written by survivors of concentration camps, it makes you angry that people could be so cruel and ruthlessly kill people and children at the drop of a hat.
Rena and Danka are sisters, aged 21 and 19 when they are sent to Auschwitz. Rena promises her mother that she will take care of her baby sister Danka, and watch after her, and never leave her side. Rena sticks by that promise and lives it out.
The book shows that there is strength in numbers, and how sticking by each other, can help people through the most horrible situations. Even at the camps, where murder, starvation and disease was rampant, Rena and Danka managed to make alot of friends, including some male inmates on the other side of the electric fence. These men managed to sneak medical supplies,food and notes to Rena and Danka, giving them the strength to try and survive one more day.
There are helpful footnotes at the bottom of many of the pages explaining some historical facts and definitions the reader may not have been previously familiar with.
I was particularly disturbed at the part where the SS selected some girls to practice gymnastics for a few days so that they may put on a show for the very SS guards that sometimes yelled and beat them. All for a little bit of extra food. The girls were already sick and weak and to make these girls do this was outright cruel-no surprise though to people who know how evil the SS and Nazi's were.
Rena's quick thinking got her and Danka out of a couple situations which would have resulted in imminent death.
There is also a nice update at the end of the book and Rena does her best to update the reader on some main characters in the book-the friends that helped her, and the enemies that made her life hell.
Excellent book. 10/10. Speiberg, take note.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Stunning, Touching, Gripping Nov. 4 2002
This amazing story will be sure to make anybody want to cry. It is powerful, truthful, and uttery complete. The holocust was a dark time, a time of sadness, rather you are Jewish or not. It must be remimbered. Even though I am not Jewish, even though I have never gone through these bitter years, I can just flip through these pages and feel her pain and tears. I will never feel the cold coming through my clothes, I will never starve of hunger, my feet will never be cut and bruised, and I will never be beaten with someones cold rife, but I will know ones remarkable story, wich will make me relize, I am fortunate.
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The first time I read Rena's Promise, I was inspired and surprised that the young woman seemed unaware of how truly
remarkable she was, and what she did. Her honesty, integrity,
trustworthiness, and promise to care for her sister, can only
be understood by reading her book. Her book is 1 of my 2 favorite
books written by Holocaust survibors'. I have read so many yet her book stays in my mind. As I read her book I felt like she had
taken my hand and I was right beside her as she struggled through
the daily survival of the death camps, protecting her sister.
If you haven't read her book, you have no idea what you have missed. I read that she lives in North Carolina, and I was there
working for six months. I have never written a fan letter to
a celebrity, yet I wanted to write one to her. More so I wanted
to meet her. I rate this book as a 12 STAR+
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing June 21 2002
By D. R.
Even though I am already in college, I am not a big fan of reading, especailly for classes and especially for History class. However, the Holocaust is the one event I find the most interesting. Everyone knows Anne Frank's story, but Rena's story is much more compelling. I found myself breathing with her or having the same curiousities. Rena is amazing and I hope she reads this! Being one of the first women there and going through so much, well, I am in awe of her. It puts this horrifing event into a realistic perspective and since she is my age, it was easier to relate. Her life there was like a movie written for suspence. I couldn't put the book down for fear something would happen without me. How her spirit did not die with those people I will never know, but she is something special and so is any survivor of that hard to imagine event.
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