The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister – My Review

Tyndale House (March 4, 2010)
I started this book last night and read it’s entirety in less than 2 evenings. While this was a difficult read because of some of the content, it still read relatively quickly. Nonna did not gloss over the horrendous days she lived through as a young girl yet her positive outlook gleams through the dust and ashes of a life no one and especially a young energetic girl should have to endure. By the grace of God she did endure and was one of the few who was still living though probably not “standing” when the victory against prejudice and racial profiling in Europe finally came.

Hitler and the Nazi’s were perhaps not intrinsically evil though Satan obviously held a tight rein on their minds and hearts or by threats scared them into the horrific deeds they assisted to perform. Nonna’s attitude of faith and reliance on the Lord would serve us all well to follow even though life in our current circumstances could never begin to equal the atrocities of WWII and it’s aftermath. These are still troubled times and although it is sad to see so many lost to this world through no fault of their own or the ones who were left behind, it is also encouraging to see that despite the depravity they were forced to contend against it didn’t dampen their relationships with those around them or with Our Lord. The deep faith of Nonna’s ancestors lived on through her and likely still will through her children and theirs to come. Her Babushka lived a blessed life but also left the vengeance to the Lord to handle. Nonna learned to follow the faith of her predecessors but also made it her own despite the things she experienced in a short span of time that hindered her childhood complacency and freedoms. Events forced her to grow up nearly instantaneously yet she tried for many decades thereafter to return to a normalcy of living that never truly was possible after what she suffered. Though she hid away the things that could spawn those terrible days in her mind once again, it was something she eventually realized needed to be exposed in hopes that new generations would never forget what one person can accomplish if they have no faith or compassion along with the charisma to draw others to their orbit. Though she shared those writings and experiences with her family while she was still on earth she did request that her journals and papers be kept within the family’s protection and only released to the world at large after she was gone. I’m not sure if that was because she wished to not relive it all yet again from curious youngsters or those who would turn it into yet another media circus or perhaps just that she felt it better to turn them over to someone better equipped to present them in a form that could be easily understood by the contemporary audiences of our time. Regardless of her reasoning her husband and children respected her request. It appears that events even then still took a number of years before this memoir was ready for the general public to consume. If you are looking for study material for children and teens though this is an open and truthful retelling there are also some descriptions that might be disturbing to them so adults should preview it before allowing youngsters to read it. You as parents, teachers, and adults responsible for children around you best know what they are mature and able to handle with the respect this era of our history deserves towards those who have opened their wounds and minds to us deserve. (ISBN-#9781414325477, 336pp, $14.99)

Codicil:
Visit Nonna’s Book Site to learn more about her story and this book. Read an excerpt. Use the cover above to learn more about the book or purchase your own copy. Thanks to Tyndale House for a review copy.

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