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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister [Hardcover]

By Nonna Bannister (Author), Denise George (With) & Carolyn Tomlin (With)
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Item description for The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister, Denise George & Carolyn Tomlin...

The author documents her experiences during World War II through a secret diary she kept during her time in a concentration camp and the years following the war.

Publishers Description
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.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2009
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  1414325460  
ISBN13  9781414325460  
UPC  031809125465  

Availability  0 units.

More About Nonna Bannister, Denise George & Carolyn Tomlin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Denise George, author of 22 books, has written more than 1,500 articles for Redbook, Essence, Guideposts, Christianity Today, Decision, Preaching Magazine, and more than 80 other magazine markets. She is a judge for the 2008 Christy awards, has worked with Chuck Colson, and has written many of his BreakPoint commentaries. She speaks internationally at higher-education institutions, pastors conferences, and other forums. Denise is married to Dr. Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University. They live in Birmingham, Alabama and have two grown children.

Carolyn Tomlin has combined her educational career with writing and photography and writes monthly for The City News (Jackson, Tennessee),, Baptist & Reflector, and Children s Ministry (Group Pub. Co.). She is the author of eight books, including More Alike Than Different and First Steps in Missions, and is a frequent speaker for women s ministries, teacher-training workshops, and writing conferences. She is a native of Jackson, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Matt. They have two adult children and six grandchildren.


Nonna Bannister was born in 1927 and died in 2004.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > Holocaust
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious

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Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography

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Reviews - What do customers think about Secret Holocaust Diaries?

No Longer a Secret  Jun 1, 2010
Nonna Bannister had remained silent about her past for forty-some years before finally opening up to her husband and family. Like many Holocaust survivors, she did not and could not share her memories with her loved ones, at least until the late 1980's. Unlike other survivors, she had much documentation to support her stories, along with a pillow she always kept close and could not sleep without. Her husband had known that she had a traumatic past but didn't know the extent of it until she finally gave him permission to read her diaries.
"The Secret Holocaust Diaries" is part diary and part memoir of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, who started writing when she was nine years old. Though she was born in the Stalinist Soviet Union, her family were better off than most and her earlier years were bright. She inherited her father's talent with languages, which later became useful in her teen years. Her innocent childhood was disrupted by World War II and more particularly the invasion of the Germans in 1941. She lost her beloved father, brother, grandmother and other family members, not to mention her home. Nonna and her mother Anna were shipped to Germany as slave laborers and upon working in a hospital, they realized that this world was not totally void of compassion. Nuns and priests protected them until the Gestapo called up Anna and sent her to a camp because of an act of kindness that she showed to a Jewish baby.
For years Nonna waited for her mother to return and eventually learned that her mother did not survive the war. Nonna immigrated to America where she met her future, darling husband of more than fifty years. There she was finally able to find a bit of peace.
Unlike the secular market, rarely is there a non-fiction book in the Christian market about the Holocaust, which makes "The Secret Holocaust Diaries," a rare book. From the very beginning Nonna is a young girl who shows much conviction and courage in the face of evil. There are some graphic descriptions, which would probably be too much for anyone under fifteen, but this is a story that would be fine for older teens. The way the book is organized, it can be a little confusing but with some patience it is worth the while. Through out the story is the subtle faith of Nonna and her family, that provides her with the strength to survive the Nazi's death machine. Her diary/memoir would make a fine TV movie for Hallmark or Lifetime.
Book review  May 23, 2010
This weekend I finished the book the Secret Holocaust Diaries: The untold story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister with Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin. Nonna was a young Russian girl who was born right before World War II and spent a good portion of her youth in labor camps in Germany. Her story is very unique and full of tragedy. She came from an aristocratic childhood and about the age of 5 life began to change in Russia. She proceeded to lose literally everyone in her family from the age of 7 until 16. Most of the story comes from her direct diary entries. Nonna hid her diaries for her entire adult life and a couple of years before she died she allowed her husband to read them. She told her family that after her death, they could share her story with the world; hence this book.

Because Nonna passed before the book was published and the editors never spoke to her in person there are a lot of gaps in the story. In addition, Nonna had written the original diary in 4 different languages and then throughout her adult life she translated the diary into English. Because of the unique way this diary was brought into being there isn't a smooth flow in the book. You get a lot of bits and pieces throughout. By the end you understand the whole picture.

Nonna experienced a lot of tragedy and honestly there were two parts in the book that I couldn't handle reading and I literally closed my eyes and turned the page. Nonna quoted the philosopher Santayana in the book, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it! (pg. 255)" It is absolutely heartbreaking to read the depth of evil that humanity can reach and the absolute disregard for the value of human life. But it is also amazing that the power of love can carry one through an extremely difficult time.

I received this book as a complimentary book from Tyndale Publishing. The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. I was not paid for it:)
A heartwarming tale of hope, forgiveness, and faith.  May 19, 2010
FTC Note: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

The Secret Holocaust Diaries is the story of Nonna Bannister (Lisowskaja), a young Russian girl born in the late 1920's, just after the start of the Russian Revolution and before Adolph Hitler rose to power.

Born into a family of wealth and privilege, Nonna's childhood is relatively insulated from the political chaos surrounding her. Although she does recognize what is going on, especially since some of her family are Cossacks, it appears to never be anything more than an inconvenience. That is until Hitler comes to power and begins his murderous campaign. As the Nazi army marches toward Russia, Nonna's father begins to work furiously to get his family out of the way. Unfortunately he fails and Nonna's life as a German prisoner begins.

What surprised me most, and perhaps disappointed me a little, is that a little over the first half of the book is comprised of stories of her childhood prior to becoming a German prisoner. While it is a necessary part of the story, it seemed that those stories were given more prominence than her time in the German camps. Stories of her childhood were much more detailed than those during her imprisonment, and I felt the book suffered a little because of this.

Nonna's story is a heartwarming one. It is amazing to see how, even in the darkest moments of her life and history, she does not give up on hope. Leaning heavily on her faith, she never allows the tragedies foisted upon her and her family by the Germans to harden her heart towards God or the Nazis.
Important Memoir  May 15, 2010
Nonna Bannister left behind the horrors of her European childhood when she relocated to the United States alone. Having lost all of her family, including her brother Anatoly with whom she was quite close to the Nazi regime, Nonna closed the door on her life in Europe and started afresh in the United States. Throughout her marriage, the birth of her children, and her latter years, she did not speak of the immense cruelty she suffered at the hands of the Germans, however one day, she opened her secret place in the attic to her husband. Looking at her journals written in many different languages (Nonna knew at least five fluently) her husband wondered how he would read these memoirs that were written in a tongue he didn't know. It was then that Nonna produced the legal pads. Piles of legal notepads full of her translations. This book is the meat of those notepads.

the secret Holocaust Diaries is Nonna's true story of her experiences at the hands of the Germans. It chronicles her childhood before the Germans came to power and continues through he imprisonment at a labor camp through until her death. With a memoir, I feel the story cannot be critiqued because this is not a plot fabricated in the mind of an author--this is a person's life; their experience. Therefore any critique is my opinion on the writing style and/or how much I enjoyed the book.

That being said, I don't think 'enjoy' is the correct word to use when referring to reading a true story about the Holocaust. This book was intriguing and poignantly written. I will warn that it is a detailed account of Nonna's experiences and there are some VERY disturbing interactions that take place. What more can one expect from a Holocaust memoir. If you enjoy reading memoirs or Holocaust based titles, this book is a must-read. Again, I would caution however that one should be mindful of the age of those who read this.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes.
Nonna Banister: A Woman to learn from  May 4, 2010
Nonna Bannister left an uncommon legacy, and for all but her loving husband it was kept secret until after her death in 2004. True to her early upbringing, the treasures of her heritage were hidden away, kept safe from those who could steal evidence of her early life. By keeping her past hidden she was able to create a new life in a new nation following World War II.

Nonna Yevgenyevna Lisowskaja was born in Taganrog, Russia, in 1927 and grew up in a privileged family surrounded by music and the arts.

She learned many languages from her father and had happy memories from her early childhood. But with the Bolshevik Revolution came the beginnings of tragedy and decades of struggle. Nonna's path would end with her being the only survivor of her extensive family.

America knows something about the Jewish Holocaust of Nazi Germany, but this true life account expands the knowledge to include the suffering that shrouded much of Europe. Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin have woven together the scraps of Nonna's story and her extensive life narrative into a readable and provocative personal history. Their notes and Nonna's timelines, maps, and photographs add depth to the tale begun in a young girl's diary.

In the pages of this book we meet a survivor of the unspeakable. She was a woman of indomitable courage and disciplined optimism, and it is because of this she has something to speak to all people in all times. Her survival wasn't just the survival of the body, but of a whole person--heart and soul, mind and spirit. How did she carry out what so many fail to do? How did she create a life of joy and fulfillment?

The answers are hidden in the pages of this precious book. Some come from the examples of her parents and grandparents, truths she learned as a young child and held on to. Some are the examples of faith put into practice. All are choices Nonna made so she could have the life her father wanted for her--a life with a loving husband, full of family, in America.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided
a complimentary copy of this book to the

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