Rena Kornreich was the 716th Jewish female to arrive at Aushwitz and this is her story and the story of her sister and friends. It is a story of survival, love, friendship and sharing. It is a beautiful story in all of its brutality. Rena was only 21 in 1942 when she left her home in Poland to live in Slovakia, hoping to escape the fate of Jews in her native land. Instead she was on the first transport of Polish Jews to the death camp.
Her goal throughout her captivity was to protect her younger sister, Danka who arrived at the camp a few days later. Rena's story is brutal in its detail and heart-warming in its sincerity. The two young women lived to tell about Aushwitz and the deaths there, being moved to Birkenau, and finally marched from camp as the war came near to its end.
Written with the assistance of Heather Dune Macadam, the following sentence describing the suicides of prisoners who threw themselves at the electric fences is full of meaning and sadness:
They hang, charred, in the electric wires of humanity. (p. 144)
It reminds me that this story does belong to all of us. To learn more about the author and her story visit The History Place: Writer's Corner. The authors point out that Rena's Promise is important because it is one of the few narratives from a survivor who was imprisoned so early and also female.
TITLE: Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz
AUTHOR: Rena Kornreich Gelissen with Heather Dune Macadam
RECOMMEND: Certainly to help us remember
01 March 2009
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