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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by [Bannister, Nonna]
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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Description


"In this account of Nonna Bannister's girlhood experiences in Europe during WWII, both horrifying and heartbreaking events take place.  But the most remarkable aspect of the story is Nonna's ability to hold on to the happy memories of her childhood, despite the pain that followed. Rebecca Gallagher's warm voice and bright delivery capture the coziness of Nonna's family life. Nonna’s darker memories are of fleeing Stalinist Russia, only to end up in a Nazi concentration camp in Germany, where her mother was killed. These passages Gallagher delivers with restrained emotion, which makes them even more powerful. Throughout, Gallagher projects the flicker of hope that never left Nonna entirely and allowed her to create a life for herself later on in America. Nonna’s positive outlook is further conveyed in an interview with her, as an elderly woman, at the end of the book." 
A.E.B.  2010 Audies Finalist - © AudioFile Portland, Maine

Product Description

Nonna Bannister carried a secret almost to her Tennessee grave: the diaries she had kept as a young girl experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. This book reveals that story. Nonna’s childhood writings, revisited in her late adulthood, tell the remarkable tale of how a Russian girl from a family that had known wealth and privilege, then exposed to German labor camps, learned the value of human life and the importance of forgiveness. This story of loss, of love, and of forgiveness is one you will not forget.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11178 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1 edition (March 20 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001Y35J5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I recently picked up "The Secret Holocaust Diaries - The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister" from my local library as I was intrigued by the premise of the book. Nonna Bannister, nee Lisowskaja, was born to a well-to-do family in Russia in 1927. She survived Communist Russia and Nazi Germany. In 1950 she obtained her visa and traveled to America to fulfill her father' dream and begin a new life. Once in America she soon married but chose to keep the secrets of her past hidden from her family until shortly before her death in 2004. This book is based from the diaries she kept as a young girl and into her later years. As she traveled from Russia to Germany and finally to America, she stowed these diaries and family photographs hidden in a black-and-white ticking pillow that she kept with her at all times.

Although the subject matter of this book is heavy, I found it to be an easy read. Written more or less from the perspective of a young girl, the story is portrayed rather simply but with startling detail. Most of the accounts of the Holocaust I have read have been from the perspective of the Jews in Germany. Nonna's story is that of a girl from a wealthy Russian family with strong ties to pre-Communist Russia as her maternal grandfather and great-grandfather were both Cossacks in the Imperial Cossack Army. Her maternal grandmother, Feodosija Nikolayevna, is a woman of great spirit and strength. She maintains her strong faith in God throughout the persecution from the communist government and passes this faith along to Nonna. As Nonna experiences numerous hardships in Russia and Germany during WWII she holds on tightly to her faith. In Appendix A, Nonna's husband, Henry, attributes her lack of bitterness as a Holocaust survivor to her unfailing faith in God.
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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 21 2009
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: I am always interested in reading survivors' memoirs of the Holocaust.

Comments: Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, a Russian girl, lived through the Holocaust caught when the Germans invaded her city. She kept diaries from her childhood through the war up until the time she arrived in America in 1950 to start a new life. She never told a soul, not ever her husband or children, what happened to her during those war years. Then one day about 10 years before she died in her eighties she told her husband it was time and she took him up to the attic and showed him all the letters, memorabilia, photos and diaries (which she had written in several languages). She also showed him that she had been spending her time over the years transcribing her diaries into English and was finished as she pulled out stacks of yellow legal sized writing pads for him to read. She wanted her story told to the rest of the family and perhaps published but not until her death. And now that she has passed ... here is her story.

Nonna was born and raised Russian Orthodox. She was a believer her entire life and became a Baptist later on in her new American life. She occasionally writes of her religion but no more so than anyone else's memoir might. However, the book is published by a Christian publisher, Tyndale, and does contain Christian content in the editorial comments.

Nonna goes right back to her childhood years and spends a great portion of the book describing life in Russia during the 1930s. Her father's main goal in life was to get them out of Russia to a better place but he was never able to obtain permission through any channels he tried.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book, but at times I felt I was reading repetitive chapters. I think some things should have been left it. It still is a good read to learn about how people struggle during the war.
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