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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

Average Rating 4
( 284 )
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5 Star

(133)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(49)

2 Star

(22)

1 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

34 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

An upclose look at the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of one who experienced it. Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister was sixteen years old when the war ended. She grew from childhood to adolecence in the horrors of the Holocaust.

I could not put the book down. I was captivated from the beginning to the end. To see the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child is a life changing experience. I could amost see the events, hear the sounds of war and torture, smell the scents of the horri...
I could not put the book down. I was captivated from the beginning to the end. To see the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child is a life changing experience. I could amost see the events, hear the sounds of war and torture, smell the scents of the horrible events so vividly described by Nonna, and feel the emotions she so dramatically captured in her diaries. Nonna's story is one of tragic losses, horrible pain and unbleivable trials. Yet, it also a story of the courage of an individual's character, of faith in God and the sacrifical love for friends and family. It is also a story about forgiveness and hope.

I am grateful that Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister chose to remove her Holocaust diaries from the confines of their secret hiding place and share them with her husband, family and the world. I don't think I will be same after reading Nonna's story. I beleive all who read The Secret Holocaust Diaries will agree that Nonna's story had a life-changing impact on them.

posted by shepherdboy on December 6, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Left me wanting more...

A raw first-person narrative about a Russian/Polish girl surviving the tumultuous WWII era in Europe. Nonna is a very natural story-teller who paints vivid tableaus of both joyous family life and horrific war crimes. My 2 major complaints are, 1) the book was overly edi...
A raw first-person narrative about a Russian/Polish girl surviving the tumultuous WWII era in Europe. Nonna is a very natural story-teller who paints vivid tableaus of both joyous family life and horrific war crimes. My 2 major complaints are, 1) the book was overly edited with a horribly restructured timeline, 2) too many redundant/unnecessary explanations in the "editor's notes." This book is in dire need of better editing! I also wish that more was told about her journey to America and how she rebuilt her life after the war. But otherwise it is a truly moving story with sincere emotions that at times can be sickening or beautifully touching. Recommended (especially since it's free).

posted by Napua on May 20, 2011

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    An upclose look at the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of one who experienced it. Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister was sixteen years old when the war ended. She grew from childhood to adolecence in the horrors of the Holocaust.

    I could not put the book down. I was captivated from the beginning to the end. To see the horrors of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child is a life changing experience. I could amost see the events, hear the sounds of war and torture, smell the scents of the horrible events so vividly described by Nonna, and feel the emotions she so dramatically captured in her diaries. Nonna's story is one of tragic losses, horrible pain and unbleivable trials. Yet, it also a story of the courage of an individual's character, of faith in God and the sacrifical love for friends and family. It is also a story about forgiveness and hope.<BR/><BR/>I am grateful that Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister chose to remove her Holocaust diaries from the confines of their secret hiding place and share them with her husband, family and the world. I don't think I will be same after reading Nonna's story. I beleive all who read The Secret Holocaust Diaries will agree that Nonna's story had a life-changing impact on them.

    34 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    How can you rate someone's life story?

    Honestly, how could you? While it did repeat information quite often, I don't think it retracted from the overall story. I couldn't put it down, wondering what would happen next in her life. It's an amazing story of courage and survival from one of the most horrific events in human history. All I can say is thank you to the family for passing on this personal account.

    23 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I have just completed this book and if anyone does not believe that God is in the details then they really must take a second look. We must learn from history so that it does not repeat itself and unfortunately in regard to the Holocaust we have not learned. My heart breaks for those poor souls that had to endure such horrors.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    Left me wanting more...

    A raw first-person narrative about a Russian/Polish girl surviving the tumultuous WWII era in Europe. Nonna is a very natural story-teller who paints vivid tableaus of both joyous family life and horrific war crimes. My 2 major complaints are, 1) the book was overly edited with a horribly restructured timeline, 2) too many redundant/unnecessary explanations in the "editor's notes." This book is in dire need of better editing! I also wish that more was told about her journey to America and how she rebuilt her life after the war. But otherwise it is a truly moving story with sincere emotions that at times can be sickening or beautifully touching. Recommended (especially since it's free).

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    Interesting but very depressing

    Knowing history is very important but this was too depressing. I wish I could take the violence of the subject but it was too much to handle. She's a hero for making it through this hell!

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Recommend

    I think the family did a wonderful thing by publishing Nonna's diaries and giving her a voice, even when she was unable to in her lifetime. From her writings, it is obvious that she was a kind and intelligent woman who overcame much adversity. I would have liked to have seen the pictures included that they spoke of in the dialogue. The documents were interesting, but the photos would have given face to the "characters." I also would like to know the REAL ending, if that is even a thing that can be known. Who WAS her paternal family and what happened to them? Her brother? I understand that many people disappeared without a trace during those years, but I also wonder how much research was done to find them? This book, however, paints an accurate picture of the horrors inflicted by inhumane people during WWII. It seemed to be Nonna's wish that by telling the story, people would not forget. Rest easy, Nonna. After reading your words, I will not forget.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Very interesting book

    This is a book that shares much history of Nonna's family. She obviously came from a rich family but money couln't prevent them from escaping the labor camps. I couldn't put the book down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Beautiful.

    Liz here. Finished this wonderful, work of art yesterday. Although we can never imagine the horrors of the Holocaust, The Secret Holocaust Diaries illustrates them for us in this heart-tugging novel. Nonna tells us how peaceful and joyful life before the war was...and what happened after. I literally burst into tears in reading class because of how sad this book was. This book should NOT BE FREE. Memories that Nonna had before, after, and during the war are irraplaceable...and one of the many untold stories of the Holocaust survivors.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    The Untold Story of Nonna Banister

    This was a pretty good book considering it was compiled by the family and not the author herself. It brings you into a world not expressly talked about when you think of Hitler's Germany in the times of the Holocaust. A life of a Russian young women in these trying times not only for the Jewish people. A look outside concentration camps which hold about the same horrors as within. Fear and discrimination in race for anyone not German. A sad but uplifting story of Nonna as she goes through these trials and eventually becomes free when she moves to America.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    sad

    it was sad but informing its kinda like anne frank but told by a different young lady

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Awsome

    This the most amazing book you will ever read and its even
    better if you really into scary non fictiction!!!!!!!!!

    I would rate it six stars if i could;)

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Raw view from a survivor

    Glad to be able to get another first account of that horrible and tragic time. It is hard to imagine people living through such horrid things. It is something all nations need to remember and I pray it will never happen again. This book is a must read to recieve a first hand account from a survivor of WW II.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

    Tragic+story%2CWell+written.

    We+will+never+forget.+

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Loved worth the download

    It is not your typical holocaust story, Nonna was not Jewish but Russian. Gives you a different perspective,

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Stunning and poignant novel of survival during WWII

    The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister with Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin is an important record of a tragic era in human history. Nonna Lisowskaja was born into a prominent Russian family who thrived on their history as well as the arts. Her parents doted on both her and elder brother Anatoly, but she was born at a dangerous time. Russia had recently come under control of Joseph Stalin and families like hers were being rooted out and killed as dissidents. Nonna began a diary at the age of nine that takes her from Communist Russia into the German occupation, the dissolution of her entire family, and eventually separated from her mother who was placed in a concentration camp. She survived the war and came to the United States determined to leave her tragic past far behind her. She married Henry Bannister, and even he never knew the secrets of her life until she finally revealed it to him and her children through her translations of her childhood diaries. Nonna has a warm and engaging writing voice that pulls the reader into every scene from a forbidden Christmas celebration with her grandmother at their dacha to the brutal murder of a Jewish infant entrusted to her care. You can't help but admire Nonna's strength that takes her through circumstances that would destroy many others, and it's obvious that the faith her grandmother imparted to her carried her through the worst of times. This is one of those rare stories that truly earns the label amazing and deserves all of the accolades it has earned.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    By far one of the better holocaust books I have read (I have rea

    By far one of the better holocaust books I have read (I have read a number of them). It is very descriptive and quite original, coming from the Russian side which isn't heard too often in these tales. I thought about this book for days after I had finished it. If you are interested in this topic, read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Very interesting story!

    Highly recommended! The story of a young Russian girl and her mother who went to the German labor camps, concentration camps, intermingled with memories of her early childhood. Excellent!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Great first person experience

    Sad & tragic, but a great first person encounter book. Makes you feel like you are there. I couldn't put this book down!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2013

    Worth the read!

    This true story takes us into the horrors of WWII through the voice of a Russian girl, who, with her mother, is sent to a slave camp in Germany. Heartbreaking at times, but with the message that hope is always with us. Worth reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Holocaust Diaries

    One of the best books I have read in a long time. Hard to put down. A very touching story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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