Book Review: The secret Holocaust Diaries

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 Germany's labor camps.  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 the book but 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.  In other words, I was not paid for it:)

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