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Rena Kornreich Gelissen (1920–2006)

Teoksen Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz tekijä

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Bethel, Connecticut, USA
Tylicz, Poland
Connecticut, USA
Tylicz, Poland
Norwalk, Connecticut, USA
Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA
Holocaust survivor
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Rena Kornreich was born to a Jewish family in Voivodeship, Poland. She and her three sisters, Gertrude, Zosia and Danka, grew up in Tylicz. Gertrude emigrated to the USA in 1921. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in World War II, the family fled to Slovakia. To protect the people hiding her, Rena turned herself in. At age 21, she was on the first transport of Jewish women into the concentration camp at Auschwitz on 26 March 1942. Three days later, she was joined by her younger sister Danka. The sisters endured forced labor, hunger, and abuse, and narrowly escaped Nazi experimentation for three years in the camp. In January 1945, they were sent on a death march to the Ravensbrück concentration camp and then put on coal cars for transport to Germany for more forced labor. They survived and were liberated by Russian and Allied troops in May in Neustadt Glewe, Germany. Their parents had been murdered in Auschwitz but the fate of Zosia and her children was unknown. In 1947, Rena married John Gelissen, commander of the Dutch Red Cross relief team that had given her and her sister food and shelter at the end of the war. In 1954, Rena and her family emigrated to the USA, settling in Norwalk, Connecticut. Danka and her husband Elias Brandel also came to the USA. With writer Heather Dune Macadam, Rena told the story of her experiences in a memoir called Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz, published in 1995.



Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Every Holocaust survivor memoir is a difficult but important read. When she was writing Rena′s Promise, Heather Macadam was asked, ″What′s it to you?″ I find that both an easy and difficult question to answer. To never forget. To honor those lost and those who survived. To try and understand. But I also feel a personal imperative that is difficult to put in words. It′s a self-directed reflection. What would I have done when faced with impossible choices? Where would I have fallen on the moral spectrum? Rena Kornreich′s focus was clear: everything she did and the choices she made were to save her little sister, Danka, and bring her home.

Rena was the third oldest of four sisters in a conservative Jewish family living in a small village in Poland. Danka was the baby of the family. When Nazi soldiers began harassing the girls, their parents sent them to stay with relatives in nearby Slovakia where conditions for Jews were slightly better. Unfortunately they ended up on the first registered transport of Jewish women to Auschwitz on March 25, 1942. The two sisters spent the next three years first in Auschwitz, then Birkenau. As liberating armies neared, they were forced on a death march to Ravensbruck in January 1945. These two facts—being on the first transport and surviving three years in the camps—make this memoir stand out from others, but the reason as to why they survived intrigues me too.

In The Train in Winter, Caroline Moorehead discusses how women who were communist were more likely to survive in prison and the concentration camps because they organized for each other. Similarly I think Rena survived in part because she was driven by the thought of bringing her baby sister home to her parents. Protecting her sister gave her a reason to life and continue to fight, when she might otherwise have given up. Nationality also played a cohesive role; several male Polish prisoners were instrumental in supplying the sisters with food and warmer clothing. Finding commonality was key to survival.

Although Rena′s Promise is of necessity dark, it was not a dismal read. Rena focuses on all the people that helped them: from Andrzej, who guided her across the border to Slovakia; to Emma, the work kapo who protected her; to Malek, the Polish captain who provided food and clothing. She also focuses on the love she found before, during, and after the war. Upon finishing the book, I was left with a feeling of hope and happiness, not despair. That's not always the case with these types of memoirs. Recommended.
… (lisätietoja)
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labfs39 | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 28, 2021 |
Every real story is so harrowing. It never becomes easier to digest. These stories are so necessary.
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Slevyr26 | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 11, 2020 |
A captivating and heartwrenching story of courage, selflessness, hope, and survival. This book was eye opening and humbling as Rena shared her tale of survival in Auschwitz while trying to remain humane and trying to keep her promise to her sister. Although it takes place during the Holocaust, this memoir does not put a lot of focus on the evils during the time. Rena's will to survive, her selflessness, and her strength during such a tumultuous time were admirable. The story telling was great and at times I had to remind myself that this was her reality for 3 years. There are a few pictures of Rena and Danka included as well.  Two thumbs up… (lisätietoja)
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1forthebooks | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 22, 2018 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
This is the updated edition of a book first published in 1995 that tells the story of Rena and Danka Kornreich, who were on the first transport of women to Auschwitz in 1942. They survived this terrible ordeal, and this book, in the form of experiences told by Rena to Heather Dune Macadam, is a record of their bravery and survival. It includes a bibliography and questions for book groups as well as drawings and footnotes that give the timeline of the story. There is also a website, rel="nofollow" target="_top">http://www.renaspromise.com/, with more information.… (lisätietoja)
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mbkhlibrary | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 29, 2015 |


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