It all started with a woman, a writer and a book:
“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 mass registered transport of Jews arrived in Auschwitz–all young women between the ages of 16 and 22. Among those 999 young Jewish women was #1716, Rena Kornreich, a Pole hiding in Slovakia. A few days later, her sister Danka #2779 arrived and so began a trial of love and courage that would last 3 years and 41 days, from the beginning Auschwitz death camp, to the death march and on to the end of the war.
Rena’s Promise stands out from other Holocaust memoirs not only in the length of time she spent in the camps, but in the spirit of love she maintains throughout her ordeal. No other survivor from the first transport has ever written about her experience (too few survived) when the women’s camp was part of the men’s camp, and the only men were Polish and Russian POWs. Within a few days that would all change.
From her escape from Dr. Mengele’s experiment detail to her surreal meetings with the infamous and dangerous SS woman, Irma Grese, Rena tells a dynamic tale of courage and compassion 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 and how to still love mankind after seeing the worst mankind has to offer.
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.