JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 14, 2009 – Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin, co-authors of the book “The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister,” will be the keynote speakers at the Union Auxiliary fall luncheon Oct. 22.
The book, released earlier this year, tells the story of a Russian-American woman named Nonna Bannister who saw and survived the evils of the Holocaust. Bannister kept her diary entries – and her story about life in a Nazi labor camp – secret from her family for more than 50 years.
“Though similar to other memoirs of the war and the Holocaust years, Nonna’s account provides a rare glimpse into the life of a girl who was born to a wealthy family in the Ukraine, experienced great suffering in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and eventually lost her family and her own freedom at the hands of Nazi Germany,” George and Tomlin write in the book’s preface.
“The fact that she not only survived such turmoil and tragedy but also moved on through faith in God to forgive those who took away so much makes her story all the more remarkable.”
Tomlin first discovered the story about Bannister in October 2007 at a neighborhood cookout. She lives six houses down from the Bannisters, and as she was leaving, Nonna’s wife Henry stopped her to talk.
“When you have time, I’d like to tell you the story about my wife,” Henry told her.
“We sat at the picnic table under the street light, and for about two hours he told me the story of Nonna,” Tomlin said.
Published by Tyndale, “The Secret Holocaust Diaries” also includes 32 pages of pictures and a chronology from Bannister’s life.
“What a marvelous service has been provided by Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin in bringing to light the untold story of Nonna Bannister,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “This inspiring volume provides a window into the personal and painful reflections of one of the darkest periods in human history. Yet, readers will be strengthened from reading these most moving and hopeful accounts of courage, faith and forgiveness.”
Tomlin is a 1972 Union graduate, and her husband Matt is a former Union trustee. George, of Birmingham, Ala., is the wife of Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, and is “a special friend of this university,” Dockery said.
The luncheon will begin at noon in the Carl Grant Events Center. Tickets are $12 each. For more information, call Cindy Meredith at (731) 661-5202.