In 1920, Rena was born in Tylicz, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland, to Chaim and Sara Kornreich. She had three sisters: Gertrude, Zosia and Danka. She and her sister were raised in Tylicz, but after the Nazi invasion escaped to Slovakia. To protect the people hiding her, she turned herself in to Auschwitz. She was on the first transport of Jewish women into the concentration camp, on March 26, 1942. There, she was tattooed "1716", being the "716'th" female to enter the camp. Three days later, her sister Danka joined her, where they forged an incredibly strong bond of love and compassion that would help them survive the three years and forty-one days that they would endure in the camp, undergoing hunger, torment and abuse. Among these years, Rena and her sister narrowly escaped Nazi experimentation, underwent forced labour and in January 1945, the death march to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
To find out more about Rena Kornreich Gelissen, visit her page on Wikipedia, or read her memoir, Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz.