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Summary

"I do not hate. To hate is to let Hitler win." - Rena Kornreich Gelissen.

On March 26, 1942, the first mass transport of Jews - 999 young women - arrived in Auschwitz. Among them 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 three years and 41 days, from the beginning Auschwitz death camp to the end of the war.

Rena's Promise stands out from other memoirs not only for the mere length of time she spent in the camps (no other survivor from the first transport has ever written about her experience) but for her dedication to honoring the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters, prisoners, and even guards. 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.

©1994 Heather Dune Macadan and Rena Kornreich Gelissen (P)2013 Heather Dune Macadam and Rena Kornreich Gelissen

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What listeners say about Rena's Promise

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awful annoying narrator and co-author but persevere Rena's promise is an amazing story of hope and courage

The recording of this audio book is awful the narrator has self edited and recorded over her recording, the audio jumps and repeats itself which is annoying. All through the book there is back ground noise and a bell and it turns out it is the narrators cat! Unbelievable. The story was the only thing that kept me going as I would have requested a refund because the audio quality was so bad. An amazing story of human strength and courage in the face of adversity. Thank you for sharing your story Rena.

4 people found this helpful

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Honest and emotional story ruined by narrator

The story is important and worthy of a listen but the performance is awful. Apart from the accent and the style of the reader, it is as if she has recorded it at home. You can hear whirring and noises in the background and this is abrasive. A real disappointment.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story but awful reader

The story is very inspiring if you can endure the reader. I think the author recorded it at home on her personal computer without any guidance and it shows. Her vocal inflections are forced and annoying. I would love to hear this story performed by a professional with some experience!

3 people found this helpful

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Heart Breaking

This is not an uplifting book . This brings home the true horror of the holocaust with no Hollywood flannel . Hard to believe this was happening in Europe 70 years ago .

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This is beyond the imaginable

Rena and her sister went through hell . Their daily fight for survival is beyond imagination for us who can just walk to the cupboard if we are hungry or thirsty.
The cruelty is unbelievable. I can not get it into my mind how a human can do to another what they did to the prisoners and not just Auschwitz.
How could they sleep at nights? How could they carry on as if they did nothing wrong after the war? These people don't have any conscious if they think it was ok.
I am happy that Rena and Darla had a happy life after all they've been through.

The story was gripping but I have a little issue with the way it was presented. sometimes it was just read out as if a pupil in class was bored of reading it.
partly there were no emotions like I've experienced it in other books. That's the reason why I gave only 3 stars for the performance.

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Read the hard copy!

This story is, like all the survivors’ stories, hugely important.

Unfortunately the author, who did such a good job capturing Rena’s story, decided to narrate this and as a result the audio suffers for want of a professional. At times it is so bad that it is hard to listen. Rena is often given a bizarre inflection like Marilyn Monroe which makes her sound foolish (which Rena certainly was not), while the Nazis are voiced as a child might when playing with toys. It is so strange and incongruous to hear these ridiculous caricatures that at points I’m afraid the important story is all but lost.

The production is also poor with background noise, repetition where she has misread, and jarring edits where she has spliced information in with sudden background noise or at a totally different volume.

This is well worth reading, but do yourself a favour and don’t listen to this.

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Can’t fault the content

Incredible story, just found the narrator annoying at times and there were also technical glitches, but it is definitely worth listening to. Sad but hopeful, an amazing testament.

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A remarkable woman

Such resilience and positivity as well as inherent honesty saw arena survive for so long.

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  • Simone
  • 23-07-15

Excellent Content / Horrible Production

You could fairly say I am addicted to Holocaust survival stories. I never tire hearing about people’s challenges and how they overcame the worst possible odds – it’s an amazing testament to human resilience. Always impressive.

The production value of this audio book however is the pits! It’s as if it was recorded in 3 different rooms, and then spliced together to make one audio file. The sound is jumpy, the volume is inconsistent, I even thought the narrator had changed on occasion… it did the subject matter a huge disservice as the cuts were so jarring and distracting.

I wish there was a way to rate this other then lumping it in with “performance” in Audible’s star rating system because this is not a critique of the narrator. Overall, it was great content, just a terrible assembly.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Brianna Marie Knudsen
  • 06-10-16

Amazing

I love this book. I chose this memoir for my college Holocaust history corse research paper. It's incredible what those girls had to go through and they still used their agency to live happy successful lives. It's also wonderful how it brings to life the actual people who were sent to these camps, how they were just that. People. not statistics or numbers but actual people who were cast down by their society because of their religion. It's devastating what happened to those people and it should never be forgotten. I believe everyone should read this book. If we don't educate ourselves on subjects like this, if we act ignorant or disassociate ourselves with these people then mass genocide will continue. I also very much appreciate the authors not at the very end about her cat. It brought a smile to my face :)

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kmm
  • 02-11-14

Holocaust Memoir Overshadowed by Poor Organization

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes; although hard to follow this book shows how the love, mutual commitment, and wit of two sisters helped them to survive years in a concentration camp.

Would you recommend Rena's Promise to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, see above.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes

Was Rena's Promise worth the listening time?

Well … yes. The biography is compelling although I am not likely to re-read it because the book's organization between the past and present makes it too difficult to follow. It could have benefitted from another round of editing before it went to print.

Any additional comments?

The substance of the book would make a good movie.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-20

Good story...narration not good.

I first listened to 999, which was a great book excellent narration. I decided to get this book by the author. 999 had a professional narrator, this book was narrated by the author and was spliced several times and annoying. I had to adjust my volume often, and the narration fell flat often. The story itself was very good, so I pushed through. The story is worth redoing the narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-18

Fantastic

Fantastic memoir. Fortunately the low production quality doesn't take away from the story. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in holocaust memoirs.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 19-05-15

Great Holocaust Story

Would you try another book from Rena Kornreich Gelissen and Heather Dune Macadam and/or Heather Dune Macadam?

Only if they fix the volume on the recording--this went up and down through the whole story.

What other book might you compare Rena's Promise to and why?

War and Rememberance--each book tells a different side to the Holocaust Also this book reminded me a lot of the Hiding Place

Which character – as performed by Heather Dune Macadam – was your favorite?

Rena

Do you think Rena's Promise needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

yes I think it would be good to follow through the story

Any additional comments?

the only reason I gave this book a low rating in the overall category was the volume was not adjustable on the book..sometimes it was low and then other times it was too loud

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dianne
  • 11-07-21

One you will also want to get in hard copy and keep on the shelf.

I had not heard of Rena’s Promse and read 999 first. These books are so well written. I’m a seasoned Holocaust reader and I’m so thankful for the talented writers that work with these amazing people to bring the stories of their lives to us. This one, and 999 belong on your shelf so run out and get a hard copy as well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jewel Story
  • 08-02-15

Good story, god aweful narration

Oh I wish they would have sprung for a professional narrator. The authors voice and her impression
of a polish accent is enough to make your ears bleed. Is was practically unlistenable. And the way the author insinuates herself into the importance of this story is enough to make you wretch.
Really horrible performance. If there is ever a book on knitting or casserole making,
the author maybe could read that outloud to her stupid cat. But that's about all I would grant her.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Aimee M kartchner
  • 10-07-21

AK

This story or survival and the will to live is amazing. The recording, however, reminds me of making a mixed tape when I was a kid. The book would be much better to read.

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  • Toni Cooney
  • 04-03-21

Incredible Story, Awful Production

Rena's story is powerful and inspiring. Highly recommend this in print. Unfortunately, the production quality of this audiobook was incredibly poor. It was so distracting and it took much attention away from Rena's story. The book was filled with choppy edits, inconsistent volumes, and background noise. Errors the reader made were not edited out.