The Secret Holocaust Diaries, The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister with Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin

Video of Nonna Bannister's husband speaking about the book:

Link for the book at the Publishers:

Published 2010, 336 pages

As you have already guessed I have an interest in World War II and Holocaust stories. Soon I will post an update of the list of books I've read in these genre's over the past few years.

I had heard about this book on another blog and had been looking for it in bookstores. The cover photo of Nonna is haunting---those large innocent eyes peering above a striped ticking material.
There are several photo's in the center of the book, black and white photograph's that capture a woman who had suffered unbearably during the Nazi campaign of genocide and war.
What is amazing and ludicrous to me is that there are people who actually believe this never happened, it is a made up story they say. My own father saw the camps where people stood like corpses, only their eyes still moved and blinked. When I watched the above video of Mr. Bannister he reminded me of my own father in his love for his wife, who has now gone to her eternal home. I want to hug him, pat his hand. They shared a great love that spanned many decades, and yet he did not know until the end of her life what she had gone through during the war. All those years she had remained quiet. He knew something horrible had happened, but he allowed her the freedom to tell him when she was ready. This book is such a stark tribute and testimony of a witness of what war and unabated hate gives birth to.
This book is a must read for anyone that reads World War II books, or books on the Holocaust, or even Russian History. It is a memorable book, difficult to put down yet difficult to grasp the horrors that Nonna lived through.
Nonna lived in the Ukraine--Russia, with her parents and an older brother. They had a large extended family on her mother's side. Her maternal grandmother was the pillar of the family. Their family was rich in mother Rossija's history. Then Hitler's regime began its assault on eastern Europe and their world fell apart. The book begins with the history of Nonna's great grandparents and follows through her own life.
Her memories are vivid, descriptive. She can still smell the fragrance of French lilacs outside her grandmother's window.
The additional authors put together the book from Nonna's notes. They pieced together the story in order to be a readable book and they did a great job!

Blissful Reading!


  1. Thanks for sharing this powerful book, Annette. It sounds fascinating. I too love historical fiction. I enjoy it so much that I became published in it.

    Jacob's Courage ( is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults living in Salzburg at the time when the Nazi war machine enters Austria. This compelling historical novel presents scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It explores the dazzling beauty of young love, powerful faith and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are imprisoned and enslaved. From desperation and despair, to unforgettable moments of passion and beauty, Jacob’s Courage examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality.

    Jacob's Courage is sold globally. It resides in many Holocaust museums in Europe and The United States, including Yad Vashem and The USHMM. Two film companies have expressed an interest in the movie rights. Reviews include Jewish Book World and the Association of Jewish Libraries. Additional reviews are at the Amazon site. Jacob's Courage is also a Kindle Book. A synopsis is here An author interview with Jewish Literary Review is here

    As a coming-of-age love story, Jacob’s Courage has a natural appeal with young people. The novel is required reading for high school students in Ohio.

    May I send you the e-reviewer’s copy? I believe that your constituents would be interested in this compelling book.


    Charles S. Weinblatt
    Author, Jacob’s Courage


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