Rena’s Promise: A Story of Two Sisters in Auschwitz – Book Review


Rena’s Promise is the book that has left the most lasting impression on me.  I read it several years ago and still think of it often. Her experience was so harshly different from anything I’ve personally gone through. When I am struggling with something, I will recall a hardship described in her experience at the concentration camp, and I am often able to look at my situation in a healthier perspective.

The titular character, Rena, survived 3 years and 41 days in concentration camps during World War II.  This was an unusually long amount of time given the wretched conditions.  All that long while, she kept her promise to protect her sister – an even more unbelievable accomplishment considering the circumstances were so vile and harsh that it would be nearly impossible to think of anything but your survival.

It was with much difficulty and emotion hat Rena shared her terrible, yet an ultimately hopeful story. She showed such character in the extreme situations she faced and overcame the most unimaginable and disturbing circumstances.

My heart was warmed by the story of her sharing a minuscule morsel of a treat with a group of others that shared their rooms, which allowed the tiniest shred of joy in a harsh, disturbing environment.

This laughter, which is so strange to us, is as valuable as bread; it eases our hearts of just a little pain and gives us something to smile about secretly.  ~Rena’s Promise

When she described her loathsome, highly overcrowded sleeping arrangements, I felt gratitude for my nice, warm bed.

As she shared how family was the most important thing, especially after losing most of hers, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to share experiences with family.

In this place, we cannot be selfish with affection and gratitude.  If we don’t say it today, there may never be another chance.      ~Rena’s Promise

I tried hard to imagine the tastelessness and incredibly insufficient portions of food as she demonstrated to the book’s author how very little flavor was in the “potato” soup.  I understood how grateful I should be for the flavorful foods in the more than adequate portions that I am able to enjoy and be nourished by.

Fasting is an act of strength and spirit…I learned that being hungry was all in my mind.                          ~Rena’s Promise

Rena is an exemplary role model and an incredible example of the human spirit. I highly recommend this book.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



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