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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

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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 lea 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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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 lea 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.

30 review for The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dem

    An inspiring and tender story of a holocaust survivor heartbreaking and yet heartwarming with lovely insights into a russian childhood traditions and memories that make this books a memorable read. I really enjoyed this story of Nonna Bannister a Russian Orthodox girl born to wealthy parents who fled Russia as WWII was starting. She gives a a wonderful insight into her early childhood growling up in Russia , christmas time, horse drawn sleighs, and life in her grandmother's beautiful confortable An inspiring and tender story of a holocaust survivor heartbreaking and yet heartwarming with lovely insights into a russian childhood traditions and memories that make this books a memorable read. I really enjoyed this story of Nonna Bannister a Russian Orthodox girl born to wealthy parents who fled Russia as WWII was starting. She gives a a wonderful insight into her early childhood growling up in Russia , christmas time, horse drawn sleighs, and life in her grandmother's beautiful confortable home. Of course Nonna's account and memories also recounts the sad times and the hardships encountered in her time in forced labor along with her mother. One has to keep in mind while reading that this book was compiled from diary entries that Nonna wrote when she was a young girl. she kept these diaries a secret from her husband and family until her golden years when she felt able to share them with her husband and so only after her death did the diary enteries form the basis for this book which her family felt needed to be published so they could be shared and read by the public. I listened to this one on audio and while the narrator was very good i can help wishing I had a hard copy for my library and also because I believe the hard copy may contain photos. No matter how many accounts I read on the Holocaust I am always shocked and saddened by the crimes against humanity. And while this account is heartbreaking in places Nonna's reminiscences of her happy childhood are beautifully recounted and make vivid and enjoyable reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I think a lot of people are too critical of this book. Please understand before reading it that this is NOT going to be similar it the diary of Anne Frank because Nonna is not Jewish and is not being pursued and persecuted because of her faith. This is the diary of a privileged young Russian girl whose family survives the Russian Revolution, endures Stalin's rule, German's invasion and occupation of Russia and the Holocaust. As a Russian, Nonna is not subjected to the concentration camps but rat I think a lot of people are too critical of this book. Please understand before reading it that this is NOT going to be similar it the diary of Anne Frank because Nonna is not Jewish and is not being pursued and persecuted because of her faith. This is the diary of a privileged young Russian girl whose family survives the Russian Revolution, endures Stalin's rule, German's invasion and occupation of Russia and the Holocaust. As a Russian, Nonna is not subjected to the concentration camps but rather slave labor camps. This is not a story of the persecution of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, this is a story about how WWII and the Holocaust affected other citizens of throughout Europe. It should broaden your perspective and your understanding of the total effects of WWII. I absolutely loved the book. Also, don't expect this is to be a profound novel by a best-selling author. Nonna originally wrote her diaries, as a child, in 8 different languages (thanks to her father teaching her) so that in case anyone ever found them they could not translate them completely and she would not be in trouble. When she was in her 70's she translated them to English for her family and those transcripts were later put in this book along with editor's notes to help the reader follow the train of thought and understand references to people and political positions. Overall it was a great (although heart-wrenching) read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I finished reading “The Secret Holocaust Diaries” by Nonna Bannister today. It was not what I had expected it to be but I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected it to be similar to “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank but it wasn’t, and for very good reasons. Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who was hiding from the German Nazi’s to avoid being sent to concentration camps and, ultimately, her death. Nonna Bannister was a young privileged Russian girl who is caught up in the German invasio I finished reading “The Secret Holocaust Diaries” by Nonna Bannister today. It was not what I had expected it to be but I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected it to be similar to “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank but it wasn’t, and for very good reasons. Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who was hiding from the German Nazi’s to avoid being sent to concentration camps and, ultimately, her death. Nonna Bannister was a young privileged Russian girl who is caught up in the German invasion and occupation of Russia during World War II and is forced in to slave labor camps. While both girls endured the Holocaust and recorded their experiences in diaries, they lived very different lives. Nonna Bannister is born to a Polish father and a Russian mother who is from an aristocratic family. She describes her life in detail from large family reunions in 37-room homes complete with hired help to sleigh rides and a father who spoke 8 languages while working a very prestigious job and a mother who had attended a private school to study music and the arts. Her mother played the violin and the piano and was also an accomplished artist. Needless to say, Nonna was not familiar with any sort of suffering. That changed when Josef Stalin rose to power. Under the rule of Josef Stalin her family faces the loss of family members and as communism rose her family’s prestige fell because farmland and animals were taken to serve as community property. They were no longer allowed to own private farmland or private livestock, they were also no longer allowed to have hired help so her grandmother had to be deceptive and claim that her favorite staff member was a cousin. Eventually Germany invades Russia and as the German invasion spread and began to occupy all of Russia Nonna’s family lost more of their properties and more of their wealth. The German’s were suspicious primarily of the Russian men so her older brother was sent away so he had a chance of survival and her father goes in to hiding. Nonna and her mother fled and lived in tiny house after tiny house trying to simply survive the occupation. They were eventually offered two choices by the Germans and they chose the one which gave them the best chance of survival but which also forced them to board a train to Germany. The passengers on the train were all separated in to different cars, the Russians, Ukrainians and Polish were forced in to some rail cars while the Jewish passengers were forced in to others. The Russians, Ukrainians and Polish (the East) were allowed to use the bathroom in the bushes during stops and were allowed meager helpings of food while the Jewish passengers were never allowed out of their boxcars and were starved. Eventually Nonna witnesses a mass murder of some Jewish passengers and then she, along with the rest of the Eastern passengers, continue toward Germany. Nonna and her mother are transferred from one slave labor camp to another and then another until Nonna’s ability to speak multiple languages fluently (taught to her by her father) land them a position in a hospital. At the hospital they are treated more like equals than slaves, even though they were technically still slaves, until the German government discovers Nonna’s mother’s deceit and dishonesty and transfers her to a concentration camp. Nonna struggles, but survives, the ordeal and eventually WWII is over and the camps are rescued. Nonna then realizes her family’s dream of moving to America where she marries and starts a new life. The whole book is heart-wrenching and tragic (as all Holocaust stories are) but I appreciated the perspective from a non-Jewish survivor. I found the Russian perspective fascinating and eye-opening. Please do not expect this book to be a grand novel as written by a best-selling author, remember this was originally written by a child and young teenager. Nonna originally wrote her diaries in 8 different languages because she was afraid of them being discovered. She reasoned that if they were written in 8 languages they would be harder to translate. She translated them herself when she was in her 70′s and added a few details and memories, those transcripts were then typed out by her husband and eventually published in this book along with editor’s notes to help the reader understand certain references to political figures, people, and events. It is not the smoothest read but it is definitely interesting. I loved it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    The title is a misnomer: very little of this book is diary entries. Almost all of it is memoirs written by Nonna Bannister decades after World War II, along with poems she wrote in her youth. Historical notes attempt to add context to Bannister's disjointed and at times confusing narrative. I didn't find this book to be all that interesting. Bannister writes in great detail about her happy childhood in a wealthy, educated Russian/Polish family, but practically skims over her experiences as a slav The title is a misnomer: very little of this book is diary entries. Almost all of it is memoirs written by Nonna Bannister decades after World War II, along with poems she wrote in her youth. Historical notes attempt to add context to Bannister's disjointed and at times confusing narrative. I didn't find this book to be all that interesting. Bannister writes in great detail about her happy childhood in a wealthy, educated Russian/Polish family, but practically skims over her experiences as a slave laborer in Germany during the war, and that's really what this book is supposed to be about. A lot of stuff is left unexplained -- for instance, why is she so certain her brother must have been killed in the war? If she made any attempts to locate him afterward, she doesn't say. I think she also spends way too much time on her genealogy. This has a somewhat original perspective of the bourgeoise Russian, oppressed by both Stalin and Hitler, but I'm sure there are other, better books out there from the same point of view.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vonette

    I hate to give this book less than 4 stars because I really think people should read it. The story of Nonna's life is worth hearing. I am glad that I read the book and hope others will as well. There is much to learn from history, and I definitely learned some history (particularly about Russia) which I did not know. Having said that, I have to also agree with a number of other reviewers that the editing of the book could have been better. Some of the insertions seem to simply repeat much of wha I hate to give this book less than 4 stars because I really think people should read it. The story of Nonna's life is worth hearing. I am glad that I read the book and hope others will as well. There is much to learn from history, and I definitely learned some history (particularly about Russia) which I did not know. Having said that, I have to also agree with a number of other reviewers that the editing of the book could have been better. Some of the insertions seem to simply repeat much of what Nonna has already clearly explained (IMO) while other things that I would have appreciated more expansion on were given little comment. Furthermore, I felt that some things (such as the role of the pillow, when she received it, how she managed to keep it with her throughout her travels, how the photos ended up inside), I had to piece together from comments here and there or simply conjecture about. Regarding her life after coming to America, there was at least some helpful info at the end of the audiobook version in the form of a telephone interview with Nonna's son and husband. The interview was good to hear, but if I had been putting this book together, I would have begun with much more of this information in order to tantalize the reader into wanting to know more about Nonna's mysterious past after first coming to know a little about what an amazing woman she was in later life. The reader is much more invested in a story when they have been made to take an intest in and care about the main character from the get go. A number of things (such as the pillow I mentioned above) were never clearly explained. I will give another example. Toward the end of the book, the editor writes that while Nonna's family still has the photos and many of the papers she wrote, the "holocaust diaries" have been lost, the suggestion being that Nonna hid them before her death. Yet, the editor never explains exactly what is meant by the phrase "holocaust diaries." Nonna herself was never in a concentration camp. Did they mean the diaries she kept during her entire time in Germany until the war ended? Did they mean only the ones she kept while in the labor camps? Or maybe they also included the ones she kept during the entire wartime period, including the part of the war she spent in Russia? The only thing I was certain of was that the diaries from her happy childhood times were not lost. Allow me to mention one more example of confusion. Which concentration camp did Nonna's mother die in? I understood Nonna to explain that her mother died in Flossenberg after being transferred from Ravensbruch, but later in the editor's notes and interviews it is stated that she died in Ravensbruch. Other reviewers have mentioned their frustration at the apparent lack of attempt to discover if Nonna's brother survived. This was actually elaborated on somewhat in the interview I mentioned before ( the one at the end of the audiobook). However, it seems to me that some enterprising person needs to go to Russia and find the "great house" and any information about Nonna's grandmother, brother, and extended family that can be tracked down. Whether any info is actually found, I think readers would be interested to know what attempts were made. Then, the book should be expanded and reorganized with all of the photos included. Under those circumstances it could certainly merit 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rickhow

    I see from all the reviews people loved this book. I am not one. I did not dislike it but it seems to me people just loved it because it is the politically correct view to say anything about the Holocaust is a great book. I am Jewish. I read everything I can get my hands on concerning the subject, but that is exactly what I did not like about this book, it is NOT about the Holocaust except in one or two very minor "chapters". The Holocaust was about the incarceration and murder of millions of pe I see from all the reviews people loved this book. I am not one. I did not dislike it but it seems to me people just loved it because it is the politically correct view to say anything about the Holocaust is a great book. I am Jewish. I read everything I can get my hands on concerning the subject, but that is exactly what I did not like about this book, it is NOT about the Holocaust except in one or two very minor "chapters". The Holocaust was about the incarceration and murder of millions of people, primarily Jew's. This book is about a girls life in Russia, who ultimately, on a voluntary basis mind you, goes to Germany. Yes her mother, not her, suffers the ultimate fate in a concentration camp. The girl (author) sadly suffers horrific events in RUSSIA mostly at the hands of the Russians themselve and then the Germans. This is a World War 2 story of one girl, just like millions of others, who suffered the fate of a World War, not the Holocaust. All that aside it is POORLY edited. Throughout the editors inject commentary trying to explain the facts vs fiction the girl writes in her diary. Then the book is full of page upon page of the girl living a fairly normal life in Russia at first, five pages about her visit to a toy store, or going for a walk with her monther..all highly uninteresting. The editors further try to lengthen the book so it would be at least 200 pages by their editorial inserts, forwards, prologues , glossary, photos of such meaningless things as the authors marriage certificate. A shambles in my view. I think it would have been more interesting with a short forward of "the events and facts are as the author wrote them and all are not necessarily exactly factual but generally accurate". Then just let us read the diary. What struck me the most was something I HIGHLY question (warning, this is a spoiler alert), the part where she wandered unnoticed from a train guarded by SS and dogs, got entrapped with a bunch of Jewish people going to their execution, watched them being shot one at a time, but she fell into the pit and was not shot, then stayed there all day surrounded by dead people all around and on top of her, climbed out (again unnoticed by SS and dogs), made her way back to a concentration camp, snuck in through a gate (again unnoticed by SS and dogs) and rejoined her mother. Come on.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    I found this hard to follow. Nonna Bannister was born into a relatively wealthy Russian family. Several of her family members were killed during the German WW2 occupation and Nonna and her mother decide therefore to flee to Nazi Germany (presumably not knowing what was going on there.) They end up working in a labour camp alongside Jews and Poles. They witness the serious atrocities at the hands of the Nazis. At the end of WW2, Nonna is the sole survivor of her family and she moves to America wh I found this hard to follow. Nonna Bannister was born into a relatively wealthy Russian family. Several of her family members were killed during the German WW2 occupation and Nonna and her mother decide therefore to flee to Nazi Germany (presumably not knowing what was going on there.) They end up working in a labour camp alongside Jews and Poles. They witness the serious atrocities at the hands of the Nazis. At the end of WW2, Nonna is the sole survivor of her family and she moves to America where she marries and lives a relatively normal life for the next 50 years. She had three children when she died. Nonna's American family state that she was always very secretive about her past and they didn't really know where she had come from or why she had come to America. Even her husband didn't ask her, he just sensed that she would tell him when the time was right. Eventually, she revealed her past and her diaries documenting the events to her husband just a few years before she died. She swore him to secrecy until after her death, hence the delay in publishing this book. I hope this lady died trusting in Jesus but that isn't clear from her first hand account. The first half of the book was various genealogies and details of family life that wouldn't really interest a typical reader. The second half was more interesting but it was choppy and dis-jointed. Although I have read many books/accounts about activities by the Nazis, the terrible inhumanity never fails to shock. There are several incidents documented in this book of murder by Nazi SS officers, including one of a baby, who clearly have lost all capacity for any type of normal human behaviour. There are other gruesome details recorded for the sake of historical accuracy but I wouldn't want to read them purely for interest's sake. There is not really any Christian content in this book apart from brief references to God according to the Catholic tradition. I wouldn't recommend this book as it's hard to read due to the flow and contains disturbing scenes that will definitely upset some readers. For those who are researching the subject it might be useful but it doesn't appear to be particularly well documented.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    NO SPOILERS!!! This book recounts the life of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister. It is another biography based on a woman living through the holocaust. However, Nonna is not Jewish. She was raised according to the practises of the Russian Orthodox Church. Her grandfather was a Cossack and although he dies rather early on in the story, her grandmother plays a central role in the early years of Nonna's life. There are two central themes, the wonderful memories of her young childhood spent with her family NO SPOILERS!!! This book recounts the life of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister. It is another biography based on a woman living through the holocaust. However, Nonna is not Jewish. She was raised according to the practises of the Russian Orthodox Church. Her grandfather was a Cossack and although he dies rather early on in the story, her grandmother plays a central role in the early years of Nonna's life. There are two central themes, the wonderful memories of her young childhood spent with her family and grandmother in Konstantinowka (Santurinowka) and her experiences in German labor camps during WW2 with her mother. Nonna had to hang to the good memories to have the strength to survive the bad memories. The bad memories were horrible. It is important to recognize that not only the Jews suffered unimaginable horrors during the war. Nonna was the only survivor of her large Ukrainian family. Life under Stalin also influenced who she became as an adult. Even children of this time and place came to realize the need for secrets; not keeping hidden that which is said in the family walls and that which can be said in public. Keeping secrets became a manner of being, a way of life. The stories about Christmas celebrations, sleigh rides, an abundance of food and well being, garden filled with fruit and flowers. Glorious remembrances of sights and sounds and smells are marvellously imparted. At the same time there are depictions of such evil events that this book is one of the hardest to read. There are childhood reminiscences of seeing Jews deported into extermination camps, compared to her experiences while being deported into the German labor camps. There is an episode with an umbrella, an episode with a Jewish baby being thrown into the train car and an episode concerning a little Jewish boy called Nathan that came to save Nonna's life that are simply heart-wrenching! That such has happened! The book should be read to know of these events. I will never forget these three events. This book should be read by all. Now I need to talk a bit about how the book came to be written. It is based on Nonna's diary. After the war she immigrated to the US and she never spoke of her diary, of her hidden photos and letters she had saved from her past. She never spoke of her past - not to her husband and not to her children, to no one! In the 1980s she decided to transcribe her diary notes and poems and other writings into English. They had been written in several different languages. Her father had insisted she learn many languages. That she was proficient in several did in fact save her life. Eventually she spoke to her husband about these memories, writings and saved mementos. She agreed that the material could be brought forth after her death. The truth should be known. Given the history of how this book came into being one can understand the inconsistencies that the reader finds in the book. Actually that one time she says the bombing of Kassel took 15 minutes or a little less than one half hour is for me insignificant. That she says she was eight when she began her diary and other times she says she was nine; this doesn't bother me either. If I were to talk about what happened in my childhood I am sure I would not keep absolutely everything straight. I see these inconsistencies as a proof of truth. Many reviewers dislike that the prose is interrupted by comments on Nonna's statements. These are like footnotes, but they occur right in the middle of the text. I liked this. I would often have questions about what Nonna says and the following paragraph would then answer the questions that had just troubled me. However if you never read footnotes, this may disturb you. I wanted to understand; the inserted paragraphs increased my understanding. There are poems that she wrote as a child. There are religious thoughts about God. Neither spoke to me! At the end of the book there is a map which I only discovered when I had finished the book. Anyhow, it was impossible to read in the ebook format. At the end of the book there is a chronological summary of all the events in the book. This is a bit redundant. Definitely some further editing would have improved the book. At times I asked myself if I hadn't just read a given sentence twice; two adjacent sentences were almost exactly the same! One of them should have been eliminated. So yes, there are problems on how the book has been put together. The errors that have occurred in this book are not due to Nonna's writing. She had an important story to tell. I am very glad I read this book. You should read about Nathan and about what can be done with an umbrella……… If this book interests you, also check out The House by the Dvina: A Russian Childhood. I gave that five stars. I am always yapping abour Fraser's book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susy Flory

    Tea with Nonna: I bought The Secret Holocaust Diaries a few weeks ago and started reading it. What an amazing book! Nonna Bannister was a gifted young Russian girl from a loving, warm, and wealthy family. Caught up in the horror of World War II, she watched everything and everyone she knew and loved disintegrate before her eyes. Yet Nonna miraculously survived, with her faith intact and her secret diaries hidden away, known only to her until recently. What is most astonishing to me was Nonna's l Tea with Nonna: I bought The Secret Holocaust Diaries a few weeks ago and started reading it. What an amazing book! Nonna Bannister was a gifted young Russian girl from a loving, warm, and wealthy family. Caught up in the horror of World War II, she watched everything and everyone she knew and loved disintegrate before her eyes. Yet Nonna miraculously survived, with her faith intact and her secret diaries hidden away, known only to her until recently. What is most astonishing to me was Nonna's lack of bitterness and hatred for the perpetrators of the savagery she witnessed--possible only with divine forgiveness, I'm sure, but still difficult to fathom. Reading The Secret Holocaust Diaries is like sitting down to tea with Nonna, as she unveils the secrets carefully packed away in her locked green trunk in the attic. Even her husband didn't learn about her past until their twilight years, when she decided it was finally time to tell him. I'm so glad she decided to share. Nonna's voice is powerful; after I read a passage and close the book, her lovely and heartwrenching prose stays with me. This is the type of book you don't want to read too fast; I'm savoring it, page by page.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    The only reason why I am giving this book four stars is because the Kindle edition, at least, lacks the photos that are constantly mentioned. I'm not sure if the photos were included in the print edition of the book nor am I sure why the Kindle edition couldn't use them because of the material that does appear in the appendix. But honestly, if you keep mentioning photos in the notes, you should include the photos. Nonna Bannister was a Russian, who may or may not have been of Jewish heritage. She The only reason why I am giving this book four stars is because the Kindle edition, at least, lacks the photos that are constantly mentioned. I'm not sure if the photos were included in the print edition of the book nor am I sure why the Kindle edition couldn't use them because of the material that does appear in the appendix. But honestly, if you keep mentioning photos in the notes, you should include the photos. Nonna Bannister was a Russian, who may or may not have been of Jewish heritage. She was bapitized in the Orthodox church, but her father may have been Jewish. When the War starts, her family faces conflicting goals. With her parents, Nonna stays in thier village to try and escape to Europe proper. What then follows is a nightmare of surival. The book is graphic. I think, outside of the lack of pictures, that the book was extremely well edited. At the end of the book, the reader feels as if they know Nonna. Keeping the entries in the order they were, not strictly chronological, made this possible. What Bannister's diary does is provide another prespective on the war, that of a young Russian used as labor. In the United States, at least, this prespective is important because few people realize how much the Russians suffered during the War, and how many Russian soliders died. The memoir is needed to bring more understanding and knowledge about the past.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    I hate to say this about a book with a historical significance like this one, but I found it utterly boring. I honestly don't think it was the author Nonna's fault, as it seemed like most the material given would have made a good story. Rather it was all the tedious, unnecessary inserts, and the odd way it was put together. I would have liked to see things from the beginning of her childhood toward the end, instead of jumping from event to event whenever the editor saw fit. It also felt like a l I hate to say this about a book with a historical significance like this one, but I found it utterly boring. I honestly don't think it was the author Nonna's fault, as it seemed like most the material given would have made a good story. Rather it was all the tedious, unnecessary inserts, and the odd way it was put together. I would have liked to see things from the beginning of her childhood toward the end, instead of jumping from event to event whenever the editor saw fit. It also felt like a lot was missing, for instance the narrator kept saying that pictures existed, but we were never shown any. If your going to make a big thing about inserting some factual evidence and saying a picture is in existence, then go ahead and put it with the story. I feel as if it could have been done a lot better, and also hated all the personal entries that were added at the end instead of where they belonged. Nobody cared when we read The Diary of Anne Frank whether some of it was unimportant to the story, because it was important to her at the time, and made us fall in love with the young woman she was becoming. It was hard to get to know Nonna and feel for her in the same way, and I feel like someone needs to take the original source material, and do a better job with it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    I think the best way to appreciate this book is to go into it knowing that the title is misleading. For the most part this is not really diaries. It's a story she reconstructed much later in her life from some diary entries, filled in with her memories of the events and reflection on them many years later. If you think your friends will never get around to reading the books you've suggested to them, be patient. My Goo Dreads friend Chris recommended this book to me in April of 2011. I read it in I think the best way to appreciate this book is to go into it knowing that the title is misleading. For the most part this is not really diaries. It's a story she reconstructed much later in her life from some diary entries, filled in with her memories of the events and reflection on them many years later. If you think your friends will never get around to reading the books you've suggested to them, be patient. My Goo Dreads friend Chris recommended this book to me in April of 2011. I read it in October of 2014. I'm glad I did.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    FREE EBOOK ON KINDLE. Non-fiction holocaust memior. Currently down from the regular price of 12.99. Get it HERE. Probably won't be free for long. FREE EBOOK ON KINDLE. Non-fiction holocaust memior. Currently down from the regular price of 12.99. Get it HERE. Probably won't be free for long.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Etta Mcquade

    Many people may not be aware that non-Jews were Holocaust victims, such as Nonna Bannister, a Russian girl who was imprisoned in German labor camps with her mother, who later was transferred to a concentration camp where she was burned to death in an oven. Her father was brutally killed by Nazi soldiers in Russia. What's amazing about Nonna is that she kept a diary from the time she was nine years old and still in Russia, hidden under her clothes and tied around her waist in a small pillow, even Many people may not be aware that non-Jews were Holocaust victims, such as Nonna Bannister, a Russian girl who was imprisoned in German labor camps with her mother, who later was transferred to a concentration camp where she was burned to death in an oven. Her father was brutally killed by Nazi soldiers in Russia. What's amazing about Nonna is that she kept a diary from the time she was nine years old and still in Russia, hidden under her clothes and tied around her waist in a small pillow, even writing in it in six different languages so it might be harder to be read by someone who found it. She did not tell her husband for 40 years about her past, then finally unlocked the trunk and showed him her diaries, photos, and other family documents that she had saved. She agreed that her writing should be made public but not until after her death. As I read about her loving family in Russia, her strong Christian faith, her ability to forgive, and the pain of her experiences, I was touched to the core and so grateful she could immigrate to the United States and there meet a wonderful, understanding, kind man whom she was married to for 43 years before her death in 2004.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah K

    Oh, my heart. Nonna Bannister would begin her life in Stalin Russia. Her family would move where they hoped for better, the moved to Germany where the Nazis took over. She would lose her entire family. The only survivor. She would keep her life secret until, finally at 70 years old, she would share her story with her husband. She made him promise that he wouldn't tell her life story until after her death as she didn't want to relive the trauma of it all. She died in 2004. I am so glad this book Oh, my heart. Nonna Bannister would begin her life in Stalin Russia. Her family would move where they hoped for better, the moved to Germany where the Nazis took over. She would lose her entire family. The only survivor. She would keep her life secret until, finally at 70 years old, she would share her story with her husband. She made him promise that he wouldn't tell her life story until after her death as she didn't want to relive the trauma of it all. She died in 2004. I am so glad this book was released. It was quite sad but worth the read. These stories should be remembered. The audiobook also has bonus features, including interviews with her husband and son and even a small audio recording of the woman herself.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz Jernigan

    This is a great book and I couldn't stop reading it, the book just make me appreciate life more than usual, I loved this book so much. 😜😜 This is a great book and I couldn't stop reading it, the book just make me appreciate life more than usual, I loved this book so much. 😜😜

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    So...one certainly feels like one can't critique a diary of a young girl during WWII; and yet, this book was really quite terrible. I blame the editors. There was so much repetition (and yet so much still missing). We hear several stories twice; the editors feel the need to insert footnotes within the text (rather than the more standard bottom of the page or end of the book); and these footnotes very rarely add anything...they most often just paraphrase what Nonna has already said. I understand So...one certainly feels like one can't critique a diary of a young girl during WWII; and yet, this book was really quite terrible. I blame the editors. There was so much repetition (and yet so much still missing). We hear several stories twice; the editors feel the need to insert footnotes within the text (rather than the more standard bottom of the page or end of the book); and these footnotes very rarely add anything...they most often just paraphrase what Nonna has already said. I understand that they tried to "enhance" the actual diary (which was itself re-written by an elder Nonna), but I think there were two other options which would have made a much better book out of the raw material. First, they could have just left it alone and added a chapter at the end to supplement with historical context and/or personal info. Why don't we learn what happened to Nonna in America? I think most readers would be interested to know if she became a nurse here or did not pursue a career and focused mostly on family life. How did she search for Anatoly and her grandmother? The book says she did, but this must have been hard considering she didn't actually tell her husband or kids any of this. Why didn't the authors try to look for records of her Russian family and add this info to the book? Alternatively, they could have interspersed chapters written by Nonna with chapters written about the context; non-fiction chapters that teach the reader more about what was happening all over Russian/Germany/Europe during that time. I think this is what they were trying to do with their notes, but they were lacking and just annoying. Overall, I found it to be a very disappointing, disjointed, and not really educational book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janna Ryan

    I often times hesitate to review non-fiction books because they take me a lot longer to read than fiction books do, they just tend to slow down the rapid rate at which I zip through books. Until now. This may be one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This is the gripping true story of Nonna Bannister and her survival of the Holocaust during WWII as a Russian (though there are strong suspicions that her father had Jewish blood). Her family lost everything and she and her mom ended u I often times hesitate to review non-fiction books because they take me a lot longer to read than fiction books do, they just tend to slow down the rapid rate at which I zip through books. Until now. This may be one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This is the gripping true story of Nonna Bannister and her survival of the Holocaust during WWII as a Russian (though there are strong suspicions that her father had Jewish blood). Her family lost everything and she and her mom ended up in a cattle car on their way to Germany to be slave labor in factories. Nonna ends up in America after the war and gets married and has a family. She never tells her husband what really happened to her all those years ago, and he doesn't pry. One day, years after they were married and the kids are grown, she takes her husband to the attic and finally shows him the locked trunk with all the diaries she kept through the war. All the photos that she was able to keep with her, all the postcards and mementos that survived thanks to her. She tells her husband that she knows her story needs to be told but she doesn't want it told until after she is gone. Her husband and kids were the only ones to hear her story from her. Now it is time for the rest of us. I could not put this book down. The Diary of Anne Frank is a beloved book, but it only tells the story to a certain point. The Secret Diaries of Nonna Bannister are able to take and drive the story farther and from a different viewpoint. I can not wait for my kids to read this book - a great historical tool and a gift to all of us here in the present.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    I jumped on this book when it was offered because it's very possible that my ancestors suffered similar atrocities. My maternal grandmother's side of the family is Carpatho-Rusyn from an area that is now Slovakia. I am uncertain of the origin of my maternal grandfather's family - he always said Russian but I've been unable to find immigration records to verify the information. While my immediate family didn't suffer, they came to America soon after the turn of the 20th century, it's possible tha I jumped on this book when it was offered because it's very possible that my ancestors suffered similar atrocities. My maternal grandmother's side of the family is Carpatho-Rusyn from an area that is now Slovakia. I am uncertain of the origin of my maternal grandfather's family - he always said Russian but I've been unable to find immigration records to verify the information. While my immediate family didn't suffer, they came to America soon after the turn of the 20th century, it's possible that their family left behind may have been rounded up and sent to work camps during WWII. I can't say I enjoyed the book because one can't enjoy a story with such tragedy and sadness but I am encouraged by the bravery and determination of those that survived the Holocaust whether in death camps or work camps. I continue to be amazed that books continue to be published so many years after WWII. I know there are still many untold stories that we are likely never to hear which is why I am so drawn to those that are published.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This beautiful story is about Nonna Bannister a Holocaust survivor. She shares her life story before, during and after the war. She goes on to move to America (after promising her parents) she married, had three children and many grandchildren. They became her world. She died on August 15th, 2004. Only then did she want her husband and family to reveal her story so that people would never forget the most horrific war of all time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    I was reluctant to read this book because I didnt' want to be sad, but I really liked the way the she emphasized the good amidst the horror. It was very uplifting to know that this woman lived a good, positive life in spite of all the horror that happened to her because of the strong faith shown her by her grandmother and the positive attitude of her parents. I was reluctant to read this book because I didnt' want to be sad, but I really liked the way the she emphasized the good amidst the horror. It was very uplifting to know that this woman lived a good, positive life in spite of all the horror that happened to her because of the strong faith shown her by her grandmother and the positive attitude of her parents.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Reviews are not my forte. I don't do them justice. And this book deserves a good one. As with any child's account of the Holocaust, this harrowing story tugged at my heart strings like no other. Reviews are not my forte. I don't do them justice. And this book deserves a good one. As with any child's account of the Holocaust, this harrowing story tugged at my heart strings like no other.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paula3

    Finally! It feels like it took me forever to finish this book. I was interested in reading this book as it provides a whole other perspective to WWII through the eyes of a young Russian girl. How this book came to be is actually a story in and of itself, which is very interesting. Due to the nature of how the author's memories were recorded and when her experiences were revealed to her family, which was much later in her life, the flow of the book was very choppy. Again, I know this is due to th Finally! It feels like it took me forever to finish this book. I was interested in reading this book as it provides a whole other perspective to WWII through the eyes of a young Russian girl. How this book came to be is actually a story in and of itself, which is very interesting. Due to the nature of how the author's memories were recorded and when her experiences were revealed to her family, which was much later in her life, the flow of the book was very choppy. Again, I know this is due to the process of how Nonna's memories were collected; however, it did make for a difficult read at times. Reading about Nonna's childhood memories before pre-Hitler were so enjoyable and showed her family in a light that I believe we can all relate to. I think these memories are what gave Nonna the strength to get through the horrors she experienced at the hands of the Nazis. It is a story of resilience, strength, and unwavering faith in the face of terror, death, and extreme tragedy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patb

    Nonna kept her childhood a secret from her husband and kids. She eventually showed them the diaries she kept while trying to stay alive during the holocaust. After she passed away, her husband published her journals as a tribute to his beloved wife. I listened to the audio book that had editors notes to further explain what was happening at the time. Nonna’s son was also interviewed at the end of the book along with his father. Also included was a clip of Nonna talking during a Christmas gatheri Nonna kept her childhood a secret from her husband and kids. She eventually showed them the diaries she kept while trying to stay alive during the holocaust. After she passed away, her husband published her journals as a tribute to his beloved wife. I listened to the audio book that had editors notes to further explain what was happening at the time. Nonna’s son was also interviewed at the end of the book along with his father. Also included was a clip of Nonna talking during a Christmas gathering. I true story of what it means to never give up. Read Harder Challenger - An epistolary novel or collection of letters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Upon first glimpse of the synopsis of The Secret Holocaust Diaries one is reminded of Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. While there are some similarity between the two there also are vast differences. The first being that Nonna Bannister was a Russian Christian and Anne Franks was a Jew. The second is that Bannister lived to write and revise her story while Frank did not. The Secret Holocaust Diaries is a tale of how a young girl survives not only World War II but also the early years of Communi Upon first glimpse of the synopsis of The Secret Holocaust Diaries one is reminded of Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. While there are some similarity between the two there also are vast differences. The first being that Nonna Bannister was a Russian Christian and Anne Franks was a Jew. The second is that Bannister lived to write and revise her story while Frank did not. The Secret Holocaust Diaries is a tale of how a young girl survives not only World War II but also the early years of Communist Russian. The reader gets snippets into the authors life during these troublesome years and get to see some of the hopes, joys and fears of Bannister as she narrates her early life. The one downside to Bannister narration is that sometimes the emotions that she tries to convey are flat and do not come through as well as one would hope. This could be because the "entries" are not directly from Bannister's diaries rather she wrote out her story based her diary entries and the reader only gets what she released. Bannister is able to reflect on her entries and included or take out what she wants. She may have excluded the emotional reflections in order to make it easier for her to complete her task. It is always informative to read about history from those who have lived it. Reading memories like Bannister's and Frank's has a way of linking historical events in a way that is not done in a history class. Many people (self included) know something about World War II and maybe even less about the formation of the Soviet Union. The Secret Holocaust Diaries mesh this two events together and lets one see how they affected each other. There is a lot of information about the treatment of Jewish during Hitter's reign but Nonna's diary gives insight of the treatment of Christian captives during this time. It's interesting and heartbreaking to see the differences and similarities in the treatment of Germany's Christan and Jewish prisoners. Nonna Bannister came from a remarkable family and in turn grow up into a remarkable girl. Both her and her mother used their abilities to make themselves assets to the Germans. Her mother was an acomplished painter and musician. Nonna had the ability to speak in six lanugauges. But the educational achivements of Nonna and her family also made them suspect while they were in the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities believed that Nonna's father was not loyal to their cause and while they were right, he just wanted what was best for his family. There were some minor issues that can be found in the book. That can be because the copy used for this review was and ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). One of those issues were that the were repeated references to the pictures that Nonna was able to save and that were still around. But there were no pictures in the book. It would have been nice to see the pictures that Nonna was able to save. There also was a mention about the fact that Nonna father might have been Jewish. I don't think enough attention was paid to this speculation, which could be because Nonna didn't included but it was rather mentioned by the editiors. The editors Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin included historical clarifications and story references throughout the book. They were useful but sometimes they were misplaced or repetative. They would try to clarify stuff that Nonna wrote before the reader got to that point. The editors also included serval appendixs that gave more insight into what is known about Nonna's family on her maternial side. Those were not reviewed or read but could be highly informative to those that are interested in getting futher information about Bannister and her family.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    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 se 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate Baxter

    This book is the extraordinary personal account of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, b. 1927 in Taganrog, Russia to educated parents of Ukrainian and Polish heritage. At the age of 15, she carefully journals her fondest memories of early childhood, her exposure to Stalinist Russia, the Collectivization of Agriculture and the Holdomor (Great Famine) of the Ukrainian people. She endured horrific living conditions, the invasion of the Ukraine by German troops in 1941 and their cavalier killings. After he This book is the extraordinary personal account of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, b. 1927 in Taganrog, Russia to educated parents of Ukrainian and Polish heritage. At the age of 15, she carefully journals her fondest memories of early childhood, her exposure to Stalinist Russia, the Collectivization of Agriculture and the Holdomor (Great Famine) of the Ukrainian people. She endured horrific living conditions, the invasion of the Ukraine by German troops in 1941 and their cavalier killings. After her father's early death, Nonna and her mother are faced with fleeing to the west or risking probable expulsion to Sibera, (or worse). They accept an offer by the Germans to work in Germany. The arduous train ride alone was foreboding and they questioned whether they had chosen wisely. It appeared that they stepped from the frying pan and into the fire. "Survival" became the watchword. I was amazed by Nonna's cleverness, bravery, strength, thirst for knowledge and shear endurance. She was committed to surviving and seeking a much improved existence. Her account exposed me to an historical record of Stalinist Russia/Ukraine about which previously I had known very little. It also reiterated that yes, the Jews were horribly treated yet they were not the only victims of Nazism. She carefully documented, at great risk of life, all that she saw and experienced so that such inhumanity was exposed and hopefully, could never happen again. Sadly, we have come to know otherwise. This book was not highly polished by its editors and its effectiveness is more in its raw presentation. The sidebars, although a bit distracting, did provide some important reference points while following the story. The fact that so many photographs and her personal account remained almost fully intact through all she endured is almost a miracle in itself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    Nonna Lisowskaya, a refugee from Soviet Russia, arrived in the US in the 1950's and quickly married. Many years later she showed her husband the diaries and notes she'd kept as a young girl in Russia. Nonna's family was a privileged one, but even they couldn't escape unscathed as WWII escalates. First the Soviets come looting the countryside, and then Hitler's forces arrive to take what little food and fuel is left. Having given up the *opportunity* to evacuate with the retreating Russian forces Nonna Lisowskaya, a refugee from Soviet Russia, arrived in the US in the 1950's and quickly married. Many years later she showed her husband the diaries and notes she'd kept as a young girl in Russia. Nonna's family was a privileged one, but even they couldn't escape unscathed as WWII escalates. First the Soviets come looting the countryside, and then Hitler's forces arrive to take what little food and fuel is left. Having given up the *opportunity* to evacuate with the retreating Russian forces, Nonna and her mother (along with other Ukrainians who chose to stay) are at the mercy of the German soldiers, and they're eventually packed up on trains and transported to labor camps. "We were kept there for about ten days while the Germans deloused everyone. They shaved many of the women’s heads and made them shave under their arms and even their groin area. Then they came by with a bucket of liquid and painted this solution over our naked bodies with a paintbrush—then everyone was given a physical exam to check for any diseases." "When she refused to perform because she was sick, the Gestapo had broken her arms and, later, broke her fingers." To say I liked this a lot is probably not the correct phrase, but I am very glad I read it and would recommend it to others. I would caution that a great deal of the first part of the book are Nonna's recollections as a young girl and her family, so if you're expecting it all to focus on her time in the labor camps you might be disappointed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    This non-fiction book reminded me of The Diaries of Anne Frank. Nonna was the daughter of a wealthy Russian family. She began keeping a diary at the age of 9. This diary covers her early life and her mother's extended family after the Russian Revolution through the loss of all of her family during World War II. After the war, Nonna emigrated to the US, married and raised a family. During that period she hid all her writings, photographs and stories (written in 6 different languages as Nonna was This non-fiction book reminded me of The Diaries of Anne Frank. Nonna was the daughter of a wealthy Russian family. She began keeping a diary at the age of 9. This diary covers her early life and her mother's extended family after the Russian Revolution through the loss of all of her family during World War II. After the war, Nonna emigrated to the US, married and raised a family. During that period she hid all her writings, photographs and stories (written in 6 different languages as Nonna was a gifted language learner) and never told her family what she had been through. Shortly before her death, she translated them all to English and shared them with her family. Her hopes were that people would have evidence that these atrocities had happened to prevent it from reoccurring. While the Diaries of Anne Frank had a more interesting storyline, I believe that this book would still be a valuable read for any young person who was studying about World War II.

  30. 5 out of 5

    thewanderingjew

    Browsing through my Nook and Kindle books, I came across this one on my Nook, and I decided to have a look at it. After reading barely 40 pages, I was so sad that I had to stop for awhile, but I knew that if I didn't read this one, in one sitting, I might never return to it because of the extreme emotions it aroused in me. First, I know that there are many who say people were just not aware of what was happening in Europe during the war. Second, there are many who say that it wasn't only the Jews Browsing through my Nook and Kindle books, I came across this one on my Nook, and I decided to have a look at it. After reading barely 40 pages, I was so sad that I had to stop for awhile, but I knew that if I didn't read this one, in one sitting, I might never return to it because of the extreme emotions it aroused in me. First, I know that there are many who say people were just not aware of what was happening in Europe during the war. Second, there are many who say that it wasn't only the Jews that were persecuted. Just 37 pages into this book, I realized how we have all been victimized by "bleeding hearts" searching for ways to forgive those who went along with the madness of World War II. If a young teenager, in August of 1942, was aware of how differently the Jews were treated, then surely there were adults who knew too and simply lied, simply saved themselves like the woman on the train car with Nonna who "turned in" a baby, because it was Jewish, a baby thrown onto a train car in an effort by the mother to save its life, a baby smashed to death by the knee of a Nazi soldier, in cold blood, while everyone looked on. No, the lie that the Jews were not the only ones, is huge. They were the only ones that were starved and treated like animals beyond whatever any other prisoner experienced, not withstanding the fact that all prisoners were mistreated and starved to some degree as well. I am not dismissing the suffering of others, just the excuses made my others. I have read so much, by so many, who have been through the Hell of the Holocaust, but never read anything through the eyes of a 9-year-old, non-Jew, from Russia, being sent off to a Labor Camp, not an Extermination Camp. Her experience was horrific and it stayed with her for her entire life, mostly hidden in her heart and mind because what she saw and experienced was unspeakable, unthinkable, and yet, there was a decided difference in the way Jews were treated and her memoir documents this. If American Jews and non-Jews and other slave laborers thought they and/or their families suffered throughout the war-torn countries, they should have shown more compassion after the war to those who suffered even more, rather than try to make excuses and put all victims into the same stew pot, to make it more palatable for presentation to the world. The cowardice of the naysayers disgusts me. There were righteous individuals who helped Nonna and were responsible for her survival but why were there so many who were not righteous, who turned a blind eye to the horrors inflicted, first by Hitler and his minions and than by the Italians, the Poles, Japanese and the Russians, any and all willing to turn someone in, to save themselves or curry favor. Perhaps I can understand self preservation, but I can't understand the hate that made ordinary people do extraordinary things to the detriment of others. It is easier to understand those who did extraordinary things to save others because that is the human/humane thing to do, the responsible thing to do, not irresponsible thing to do. As is stated in a statement often attributed to Burke in various forms, "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". I keep wondering, why are there so many good men so willing to do nothing? As I keep reading, I am even more horrified. Although I know my history, reading from these diaries makes it more real and my horror is made even greater because of the fact that those seeking to overthrow one regime, often reverted to far worse tactics than those they replaced. They sank to the lowest level of humanity and it appeared to be a recurring pattern. One awful leader is replaced by one even more awful. Those that rise to power because of injustices they perceived, become more unjust. The Bolsheviks were no exception. Although the religious background of the author is unknown, since she was raised as a gentile, for purposes of this book and not Hitler's standards, we will assume she was treated as a gentile and not as a Jew and was therefore not sent to a "death" camp. Prior to reading this diary, I had never heard of something called "Holodomor"...the forced starvation of the people in the Ukraine during Stalin's rule in the early thirties, before Hitler's invasion of Russia. Why were we never taught about that in school, in conjunction with the Holocaust and other genocidal policies of brutal governments? Why do we cover up depraved behavior? One thing is for sure, those that survived the Holocaust, regardless of background, did so because they always managed to have hope in the face of the most awful deprivation, the most awful conditions, starvation, cold, exhaustion, beatings, humiliation, illness; they had courage, but most of all, they had luck on their side. I am convinced that no one, not Jew, gentile, gypsy, prisoner of war, could have survived without some special skill, some artifice, some righteous person who gave aid at a time when it was imperative, some lucky break that saved their lives at a fortuitous moment, because this war had at its goal, the systematic destruction of all those who were not Aryans; no one just survived because they followed the rules; they were going to rule the world and I wonder if they ever stopped to think about what that world would look like with only them? It probably would have ceased to exist. Perhaps they would have turned on each other...one could only hope! It was impossible for me to read this book objectively. It is also impossible for me to judge this book on its literary quality for it was not written for that purpose and by its nature is not an excellent example of writing; However, that would be the furthest thing from my mind regarding the recommendation of this book to others. It should be read for the knowledge it imparts about a time in our history that was full of change, and if nothing else, it should prove that change for the sake of change is foolhardy and often dangerous. Greed and envy continue to exist side by side, so what have we learned in each successive generation? We are told if we don't pay attention to history we are doomed to repeat its mistakes, and yet even if we pay attention, it seems the mistakes are repeated ad nauseum. The message in this book is too important to be lost in the morass of mediocre books. Her memories may be flawed, but they open a window to a piece of the Holocaust I had not yet been exposed to and to which I believe all should be made aware. I have had many discussions with people on whether or not evil exists, or rather, are there evil people who do evil things because they are products of their environment? These memories are proof positive, to me, that evil does exist and those were evil times ruled by evil people.

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