This is a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.

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Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Nonna Bannister was a young girl when World War II broke into her happy life. She went from an idyllic early-twentieth-century Russian childhood, full of love and comforts, to the life of a prisoner working in labor camps—though she was not a Jew—eventually bereft of her entire family. But she survived the war armed with the faith in God her grandmother taught her and a readiness to start a new life. She immigrated to America, married, and started a family, keeping her past secret from everyone. Though she had carried from Germany the scraps of a diary and various photographs and other memorabilia, she kept it all hidden and would only take it out, years later, to translate and expand her writings. After decades of marriage, Nonna finally shared her secret with her husband . . . and now he is sharing it with the world. Nonna died on August 15, 2004.

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Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325479
ISBN-13: 978-1414325477


THE SECRET HOLOCAUST DIARIES: The untold story of Nonna Bannister

With Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-2547-7
299 Pages

Back Cover: The Secret Holocaust Diaries is a haunting eyewitness account of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, a remarkable Russian-American woman who saw and survived unspeakable evils as a young girl. For half a century she kept her story a secret while living a normal American life. She locked all her photos, documents, diaries, and dark memories from World War II in a trunk. Later in life sheunlocked the trunk, first for herself, then for her husband and now for the rest of the world.

Nonna’s story is one of suffering, torture, and death—but also of incredible acts of kindness that show the ultimate triumph of faith and love over despair and evil. The Secret Holocaust Diaries is in part a tragedy, yet about forgiveness, courage and hope.

REVIEW: This is an amazing story of the courage and faith of a thirteen year old girl living through horrific times. In the first part Nonna talks how she enjoyed her family and what it was like being a kid back then. Her family had many grain mills and was pretty well off...until the war hit and the government took over every single one of their mills. The government allowed them the big family house which they stayed in when the government strongly suggested they evacuate. They stayed to protect what little they had left. Nonna’s grandmother hoped that the house would be a meeting place for their scattered family after the war.

This book is written through Nonna’s tender eyes and how she made sense of things at thirteen. After their Christmas celebration, the war started and rumors spread. No one was sure how close the enemy was. Nonna writes in her diary, “I was confused, angry and sad about what the Germans had done. Also, I was trying to figure out what the Jews had done to be treated this way. There was no reason that I could think of.” She soon found out that no one was safe from the Germans.

Because Nonna's family refused to evacuate, they would be treated as traitors and possibly killed. So, Nonna writes, “…when the Germans offered us transportation to Germany, we had no choice but to take them up on their offer. The Germans needed some laborers in their factories. We heard later that those who stayed behind and did not leave Konstantinowka were thrown on trains and sent to Siberia or killed.”

An adult Nonna writes this, “I believe forgiveness is important. It is to forgive, as God teaches us, but never forget—rather, to apply the truth to our lives in such a way that we do not repeat our sins over and over again.”

This is one powerful story told through innocent eyes, trying to make sense of the world around her. It’s a miracle she has survived to tell this courageous eye witness account. You won't want to miss this one.

Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator
Finding Hope Through Fiction


1 comment:

  1. I'll be adding this book to my TBR pile, it is a must read.
    Did you watch on PBS The Diary of Anne Frank?