Friday, September 06, 2013

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

Nonna Bannister carried a secret almost to her Tennessee grave: the diaries she kept as a young girl experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust while learning compassion and love for her fellow human beings. Nonna's writings tell the remarkable tale of how a Russian girl, born into a family that had known wealth and privileges, was exposed to the concentration camps and learned the value of human life and the importance of forgiveness. 

 I have just finished reading this incredible story about a young girl and her life during the second world war. I just could not put this down till the last digital page.

It is a moving and honest eye-witness account of everything she can remember of her horrific experiences at the hands of the Nazi's. I have read and learnt alot about the lives of the Jews during this time but was unaware that the Russian and Polish people at this time were also cruelly victimised.
This barbaric section of history has been captured through the eyes of a young teenager and her battle of survival with her family. 
Nonna Bannister is one extremely brave and remarkable young woman, she managed to keep writing her diaries throughout her childhood; right up to the start of the war and to the end.  She kept these diaries secret even from her own family almost until she was dying. Im so relieved her husband published her works showing what an amazing woman she was, despite such atrocities she remained a loving caring and compassionate Mother and Wife.

Nonna with her parents and Brother

The diaries carry such honesty, determination and strength in times where she should have felt bitterness and anger, but at no point in these diaries did you see this. The book captivates you from beginning to end, right from her blissful happiness of her younger childhood being with her Grandmother and family in the 1930's; right through to her Fathers and Mothers horrific death at the hands of the Nazi's.

 Nonna's 16th Birthday one she will never forget!

Other reviewers mention inconsistencies of her writing, I feel this is irrelevent as she wrote from the heart in over 5 different languages to keep them safe. So some facts may have been lost in translation. But a book like this isn't about grammar or the exact historical value or the spelling its about the person, the bravery and how she remained a beautiful person inside and out despite the cruelties she witnessed. This little girl lost every member of her family to this cruelty and still went onto to be the most loving mother and and wife.

Nonna and her family after the war.

I'm so pleased Nonna got to have happiness in the US after the war ended; everything her parents wanted for her, she married Henry and spent another 53 years with this man who dearly loved her. But its so sad she wasn't able to share these painful memories earlier with her family, she kept them all bottled up until almost her dying days, making her husband promise not to release them until her death. This must have been the worst painful secret to carry round all her life.

 I highly recommend you read this book, it offers you a different aspect to the second world war, a child's perspective of the heart wrenching horrors and her bravery through them. Im sure it will touch everyone who reads this emotionally too as it did me; what an incredible woman.

Buy your copy here 

Please read more about Nonna and her family on John bannister, her sons blog HERE 

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