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The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The untold story of Nonna Bannister

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The untold story of Nonna Bannister

Написано Nonna Bannister, Denise George и Carolyn Tomlin

Озвучено Rebecca Gallagher


The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The untold story of Nonna Bannister

Написано Nonna Bannister, Denise George и Carolyn Tomlin

Озвучено Rebecca Gallagher

оценки:
4/5 (40 оценки)
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7 hours
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Издано:
May 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781608144716
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

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.

Издатель:
Издано:
May 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781608144716
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Также доступно как книгеКниге

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  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (2/5)
    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 for interest' 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.
  • (4/5)
    I tend to forget that there were groups and individuals who weren't Jewish who were persecuted by the Nazis during the Holocaust years. Nonna Bannister was one of those individuals. Nonna's father was Polish (possibly of Jewish background) and her mother was Russian. She spent her childhood in Russia, and her immediate family was living with her grandmother in Ukraine at the beginning of the war. Most of the Russians left their town before the Germans reached it. Nonna's father had long been attempting to move his family westward, so he chose to stay put, not realizing what his family would suffer under the Germans. Eventually Nonna and her mother were sent to labor camps in Germany. Nonna was the only one in her family to survive until the end of the war. She trained as a nurse and eventually emigrated to the United States.Nonna married within a couple of years of her arrival in the U.S., She didn't tell her husband and children about her childhood experiences. A few years before her death, she finally showed her husband the English transcriptions she had made of the diaries she kept during those years. After her death, Nonna's family made contact with a publisher, and a writing team compiled her transcriptions into a book. Nonna's diary transcriptions form the main body of the book, with occasional comments inserted by the compilers to clarify passages that call for additional explanation. This format gives the book an unfinished feel. Usually the professional writer will polish the subject's material to enhance its readability and appeal, and the finished product will read as if it has been written by the subject rather than by multiple authors. I think footnotes might have been a better method for adding comments to what Nonna had written. Recommended for readers interested in non-Jewish Holocaust memoirs who are prepared to tolerate the unusual presentation.
  • (4/5)
    I've read quite a few Holocaust memoirs and diaries, especially over the past few months. I have to say that Nonna Bannister's work is perhaps not one of the most comprehensive I've read, but does certainly deserve to be held up with the rest of Holocaust literature as an important work to be read. In the scope of Holocaust literature, it is important to value all opinions, as the history is based as much on feeling as it is on fact. I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in the period.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing true account of Nona Bannister, a child surviver of the Holocost. Raised in the Ukraine by a loving family, she and her mother were forced to leave with the German Army as slave labor for Hitler. Nona kept her diaries a secret for decades until she was ready to share the horrors she experienced over 30 years later. We are fortunate to have such a first hand account from an intelligent, talented and brave person. Everyone interested in the history of WWII would benefit from this account as Nona wanted everyone to know what happened to avoid persons denying it happened or worse yet repeating it.
  • (4/5)
    This is a so-so book that covers the time period from about 1918 (Lenin's Revolution) until the author leaves a German hospital in about 1949. The pre-holocaust information is fairly good. However, the author was not i the general population of any camp and therefore information on THE holocaust is very skimpy. An easy read, if not redundant in some places.
  • (5/5)
    I listened to the audio version and really liked it. I have read a lot of books about the holocaust and this was an interesting one.
  • (3/5)
    I really was fascinated with Nonna and her diaries that she kept. I was amazed at all the work she did to keep her diaries in her possession and all the work she did translating them. I also admire her family for putting those translations together and making a book out of them and telling the world about Nonna's story.I was astounded with some of the horrible things that were done to Nonna and her family. Getting to actually read what Nonna wrote about what happened to her really made me connect with her.I have to say that although I did enjoy reading this, I think this could use more editing. To me the way some of the diary entries were ordered made it a little confusing. I would have liked to have seen this completely in chronological order. I just feel like this could have been polished more.Overall I thought this was good. I really felt for Nonna and her family and am glad to have read her story.
  • (4/5)
    This is a so-so book that covers the time period from about 1918 (Lenin's Revolution) until the author leaves a German hospital in about 1949. The pre-holocaust information is fairly good. However, the author was not i the general population of any camp and therefore information on THE holocaust is very skimpy. An easy read, if not redundant in some places.
  • (4/5)
    Nonna Bannister records a fresh, unique perspective about the Holocaust. As an elderly American woman, she began translating her childhood diaries into English and eventually shared them with her husband. After her death, they were edited and published in this form. There are various stories here. Some are heartbreaking, some are sweet, and some are even humorous. Together, they provide a glimpse into the life of a young girl struggling to understand the changes in her life and cope with the loss of everyone she loved.Nonna Bannister was not a professional writer; therefore it falls to the editors to choose which entries to include, which ones to omit, and to arrange the order in a logical pattern. The editors do add notations to help the reader understand the context of certain passages, but the pacing is flawed. I found myself skimming through some entries to reach a more active narration. In short, Nonna Barrister has written a living, breathing historical account that is both worthwhile and enjoyable to read.
  • (4/5)
    Well written. Heart wrenching, as you'd expect from something covering the holocaust, but also extremely interesting. The pre-holocaust accounts of life in Russia were fascinating.I didn't care for the sidebars throughout, which made this feel life a gradeschool textbook. There was a definite tone of talking down to the sidebar text. I think they detracted from an otherwise remarkable book.
  • (2/5)
    Please keep in mind this review is based on an advanced reader's copy and hopefully the things mentioned here have been remedied.There are so many things disturbing about the book itself that its lack fo editing and repetitive, mundane horrors exceed that of the limited descriptions of the Holocaust itself. Nothing is added to one's information about the event, and do we really care about Nonna's childhood, family history, and the bucolic life she led up to the Holocause years? I think not! i CAN NOT RECOMMEND THE PURCHASE OF THIS BOOK TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE MOST FANATICAL HOLOCAUST LIETERATURE COLLECTOR. It needs continuity and other things (correct spelling, elimination of repetitition) that a good editor could provide. If this book was edited, then Elvis is indeed, alive. We are told at least half a dozen times that Anna is a talentee pianist and artist, and that is exactly the problem. We are told. Writing 1101 states, you show, not tell. If books fall unused to the wayside and robotic electronics "poublish" words in future years, it will be because of publications like this one.
  • (5/5)
    Nonna bannister grew up in a Christain home in Russia during the reign of Stalin and Hitler. The story told withing the pages of this book were taken from her diary that she kept on scraps of paper in five different languages, tied up inside a small pillow she wore tied around her waist. It was with her throughout her time in the labor camp until she died. She came to America the only survivor of her family and never let her husband know of her past. She slowly translated her diaries into English. A few years before her death she shared it with her husband with a promise that he would do nothing with it until she was gone. He kept his word. As a child she witnessed the love of her parents and her grandmother and the Christian values they taught her. On her way to German labor camp she watched the horrors of the Nazi soldiers as they killed a baby a Jewish woman had tossed into her mothers arms as the woman ran along side the train.This book reminded me of Anne Frank's diaries and of the book "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. All three of these women chose to find the positive side of things and chose not to hate those who oppressed them. There were many places where I cried and just as many where I laughedThere were only two things I found wrong with the book. The editors made comments to help explain things that might not have been clear. I would have preferred they had done this as footnotes on each page, because it was a little distracting. The other thing that disappointed me was that the only pictures were the two on the back cover, yet the editors comment about the pictures she managed to bring to America with her. Since I received an ARC it is possible that they have included pictures with the final book. This is a definate must read for anyone who loves this subject or time period.
  • (3/5)
    Please note that this review is based on an advanced reader copy and changes may have been made to the final published edition.Nonna Lisowskaja Banninster's story is full of potential, however its carrying out was poorly done. With its disjointed structure and inconsistencies it is hard to determine what of the book from Bannister's original diaries, from her translations of these diaries made years later, or from the editors. The greatest flaw of the work is the editors' fault, as the story is broken up by their indented notes, including reiterations of what we just read and unwelcome commentary. Even when they are useful explanations of historical fact, they distractingly break up the text and take you out of the moment.Still, Bannister's story is tragic and inspiring, and I hope that it can be redone in a more accessible form. At a young age, she witnessed Stalin's persecution of his people, the horrors of World War II when the Germans invaded, was shipped East to several concentration camps, and was saved thanks to the kindness of Catholic hospital workers.Most moving, is that while Nonna witnessed humanity at its worst, she did not lose her faith in God or her love of beauty.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this publication. It was a poignant firsthand account of a terrible period in human history. I found the chronology a little difficult in places, as it seemed to jump around a bit, but it didn't deter too much from the readability of the book. I recommend this to anyone interested in WWII or Holocaust memoirs.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    What a wonderful story about an extraordinary woman. Her life before the war was as interesting to me as her accounts of the war and her life in the labor camps. I especially loved her accounts of Christmastime with her grandmother. The editors notes throughout the book were very helpful with clarifying when her memories may have been biased or unclear. Overall, a great read and I think that people who knew her when she was alive were very lucky to have known someone with such a truly lovely...more What a wonderful story about an extraordinary woman. Her life before the war was as interesting to me as her accounts of the war and her life in the labor camps. I especially loved her accounts of Christmastime with her grandmother. The editors notes throughout the book were very helpful with clarifying when her memories may have been biased or unclear. Overall, a great read and I think that people who knew her when she was alive were very lucky to have known someone with such a truly lovely and heartbreaking story.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed some of this book very much, I found it to jump around a lot chronologically with no clear direction at times and I felt that the under writers, or co-authors footnotes were preachy at times and often did not add but rather distracted from Nonna's story. Some I thought was pure conjecture on their part and this put me off a bit. Nonna's story however was fascinating and heartbreaking and yet uplifting.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    It was interesting to read an account of the Holocaust from the view of a young Russian girl, particularly as I hadn't previously read much about the experiences of the Russian people during that time in history. However, I found the historical comments throughout distracting. They broke the continuity of Nonna's story and would have, I believe, been better suited as footnotes. The story is compelling, however, and worth a read for individuals interested in experiencing a new perspective on the events of that period.
  • (3/5)
    Reason for Reading: I am always interested in reading survivors' memoirs of the Holocaust. Comments: Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, a Russian girl, lived through the Holocaust caught when the Germans invaded her city. She kept diaries from her childhood through the war up until the time she arrived in America in 1950 to start a new life. She never told a soul, not ever her husband or children, what happened to her during those war years. Then one day about 10 years before she died in her eighties she told her husband it was time and she took him up to the attic and showed him all the letters, memorabilia, photos and diaries (which she had written in several languages). She also showed him that she had been spending her time over the years transcribing her diaries into English and was finished as she pulled out stacks of yellow legal sized writing pads for him to read. She wanted her story told to the rest of the family and perhaps published but not until her death. And now that she has passed ... here is her story.Nonna was born and raised Russian Orthodox. She was a believer her entire life and became a Baptist later on in her new American life. She occasionally writes of her religion but no more so than anyone else's memoir might. However, the book is published by a Christian publisher, Tyndale, and does contain Christian content in the editorial comments.Nonna goes right back to her childhood years and spends a great portion of the book describing life in Russia during the 1930s. Her father's main goal in life was to get them out of Russia to a better place but he was never able to obtain permission through any channels he tried. Once the Germans invade her city it doesn't take long for various reasons that her brother and father are gone leaving her and her mother alone to fend for themselves. They spend their time going from one Nazi prison work camp to another until they end up working in a Catholic hospital because of Nonna's language skills. This at first seems a God-send but tragedy is not far behind. During this whole time they experience the brutality of the Nazis firsthand but even worse than that, they see with their own eyes the unimaginable horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people. When Nonna finally arrives in America in 1950, as far as she knows, she is the only living survivor of her entire family on both her maternal and paternal sides.When Nonna transcribed her diaries she didn't just translate them word for word. Instead she, now being an elderly woman having lived the majority of her life in America, has mostly used the past tense to tell her story though she does occasionally tell a few stories in first person. The story is also in many places obviously being told through the eyes of her present mature self, reflecting upon the past rather than translating her childhood words as they appear on paper. Finally, we can tell that her American self has taken over the little Russian girl as she interjects American slang or American phrases quite frequently into her transcriptions.The book contains a frequent editorial commentary running through the book. Some of this is used as reference points, historical explanations, background information, cultural explanations, etc and make for interesting reading. One thing that bugged me quite a bit though were the Christian comments. I myself am Christian but these comments felt very patronizing. Whenever Nonna or her mother, Anna, did a kind or brave deed, the comment would tell us how this act showed their Christian character shining through. Well, yes, it does. But I don't need someone telling me that every time, it felt rather grade school-ish. Nonna has an interesting, powerful story to tell and it's a shame she kept it secret from her family. I think she would have found great solace in sharing it with her husband earlier and with her children when they had grown. Thankfully, she choose not to keep her secret forever and to share with the world so that her story would not be forgotten. For that I thank you, Nonna.
  • (4/5)
    Having read and seen many different perspectives of the Holocaust i was surprised to find a much different view. This book follows the life of a young Russian girl and her family. Nonna's family is very well off, her father an inventor and a whiz with languages (five of which he taught Nonna), her mother a very bright and gifted artist and musican, and her beloved grandmother the rock of the family. This book shows the reader Nonna's life before Stalin through the German invasion to work camps, to a brush with the Gestapo, to near death from illness .to living her fathers dream of life in America. This story is very heart felt and inspiring. A fresh perspective as most Holocaust stories are from the Jewish and Polish view point. This shows another horrible aspect of the war that most people are not even aware happened.This Diary is really a rewritten account of Nonna's Childhood diary from her adult persective and not the daily diary that she kept each day. Diaries and letters and photos that Nonna managed to keep all throughout the Holocaust. The book can be a little hard to follow as it jumps around quite a bit, different years and countries. The two editors did not do the book any favors with their heavy handed explnations of perfectly clear text, I really did not need them to point out such simple things as Nonna's father had taught her to speak and understand German when Nonna herself had just stated that very fact. The editors also seemed to try to place a religous twist on the book every chance they could, While Nonna had a strong belief in God that was in no way the point of her diary. I feel tha the editors should have used footnotes to convey their points as these would not have disrupted Nonna's Story.I would recommend this book as it is a story that should be remembered and shared, it shows all the best and the worst that life and people can be, it shows the grace, courage and love of a remarkable girl who surrived and lived her life never forgetting the joy as well as the pain. This is her story a personal window into her soul she shows you the love and joy of family alone with the pain of loss and horror that was the Hohocaust.
  • (4/5)
    Nonna Bannister's diaries were incredible and moving to read. She relates her life as a young Russian girl trying to survive the horrors of the Holocaust through diaries she kept during the whole ordeal. Nonna was a strong, remarkable person. Her story is amazing and it is more amazing that she not only survived, but survived with a sense of compassion even for the people who murdered her family. It was interesting to learn new information about the Holocaust itself through this book. The Russian part in it is often overshadowed by the German story. The book gave me new insight on what happened there. Occasionally I felt the editors added unnecessary notes. Nonna tended to explain herself well and often the editors' notes were repeating what Nonna had already or was about to say. But there was not an overabundance of editor additions, so the book's powerful story still rings through. This is a good read for anyone with an interest in the Holocaust or in a horrifying, beautiful, moving book.
  • (4/5)
    How do you "review" the diary of a young girl who gets caught up in the machination of WW11? The answer is - you don't. You read it and weep (metaphorically speaking) for all the senseless brutality and the torn fabric of society, homes, families. Nona kept her "secret" from her American family, until a few years before her death. Her husband helped her transcribe her diary, written on scraps of paper and sewn into pillow ticking (hence the book cover). The pillow held her memories and was with her during her life and even in death. I have more questions than answers - As the Germans were fastidious record keepers is it possible that information on Nona and her relatives is housed in the the Holocaust archives, in Bad Arolsen, Germany? Is her Babuskas' 37 room house still standing? What happened to all the Mills that her Grandfather owned - all destroyed by the War? I found the comments by the authors to be intrusive and a bit condescening. I don't believe they added anything to the story line. This book joins the pantheon of memoirs about the Holocaust, even though the author was not jewish.
  • (4/5)
    ** Advanced Reader Copy**The Secret Holocaust Diaries is an interesting book written from diaries kept during World War II by a Russian girl who chooses, between a rock and a hard place, to go off to perform slave labor. They were "secret" in that they were not revealed by the author until near her death, and only published afterwards. Unlike better known holocaust memoirs, this is from the perspective of a non-Jew living in the '20s and '30s in the Ukraine, in some comfort. It is interesting to have a very small window into the challenges of post-Revolution Russia, and the cultural and religious customs in the Ukraine during that time. While the story is grim, it is less harrowing than many recountings of concentration camps and violence, and could be appropriate for some younger readers. Readers - and teachers - may find the coauthors' efforts to provide brief summaries/annotations within each chapter to be intrusive. I found some to be informative but, for the most part, they distracted from the story recounted from Mrs. Bannister's diaries. The book is supplemented with a chronology, genealogical information, and letters written after Mrs. Bannister arrived in the U.S. The co-authors do a great job of interpreting when certain entries were written out of sequence, either as reminiscences or possible additions while Mrs. Bannister transcribed her original journal entries into English.Mrs. Bannister's story is an interesting one and a good addition of a different perspective to any collection of World War II autobiographies.
  • (5/5)
    Attention all homeschoolers you must read this book! It covers details of World War II that we don't read about often in other books. For example, what was happening in Russia? What was happening to some Christians in Europe? The attention to detail was greatly appreciated from a teaching stand point. How tragic that these things really occured in countless peoples lives. We must never forget it. This book is a tool in helping us to remember yesterday so as not to repeat it. My only negative comment is that the narrator seemed at times to needlessly repeat facts that Nonna had shared quite clearly.
  • (4/5)
    This is the story of Nonna, a young Orthodox girl born in Russia. She tells of her life during WWII.The story itself is excellent. Since Nonna was a Christian and Russian it gives a different perspective on the Holocaust which is valuable. The fact that it was transcribed from her diaries, written when the events actually happened, also makes it a valuable resource. The story is well told and flows nicely. The biggest downside to this book is the editorial comments. While they are occasionally helpful, or even necessary, to the story, all too often they interrupt the flow of the narrative. Many times they are repetitive or just not necessary. I would have preferred more of the actual diary and less comments. It also would have been nice to see the pictures since it was so often mentioned that they survived everything.All together though, I would recommend this book as an excellent first hand source of the events during the Holocaust.
  • (4/5)
    This is a so-so book that covers the time period from about 1918 (Lenin's Revolution) until the author leaves a German hospital in about 1949. The pre-holocaust information is fairly good. However, the author was not i the general population of any camp and therefore information on THE holocaust is very skimpy. An easy read, if not redundant in some places.
  • (1/5)
    The editor’s notes in every chapter is super annoying and off putting
  • (4/5)
    An amazing story of survival. I found this to be a great read from a Russian/Ukrainian point of view.