is just a slightly battered suitcase that is the subject of this book.
The suitcase, however, came to the Holocaust Museum in Tokyo, Japan
in 2000 and initiated the determined and multi-continental search by
Fumiko Ishioka, Museum Director, to learn its history.
Fumiko wanted to have something physical to share with children who
came to her museum to grasp the horror of the Holocaust, and after
many letters to other
museums around the world was sent this suitcase from Auschwitz. In white paint
on the top of the suitcase were the words “Hana Brady, May 16, 1931” and “Waisenkind” which
The suitcase fascinated the children, but they wanted to know more.
Fumiko, spurred on by the children, did everything possible to learn
about Hana Brady. With letters,
telephone calls, and a trip to Czechoslovakia, plus another determined museum
worker in Czechoslovakia, she found eventually found information about this Holocaust
victim. The most exciting thing she discovered was that one member of the family
survived, Hana's brother, George Brady.
Now began a new search for George Brady. Talking with many people,
she finally located a former bunkmate who knew George Brady now lived
in Toronto, Canada – and
he gave Fumiko the address.
Fumiko carefully wrote her letter to George Brady, fearful of opening
She included copies of Hana’s drawings she had uncovered along with pictures
and poems from the children with whom she worked at the Tokyo museum.
Not only did George Brady respond in a letter with photographs, he also visited
the Holocaust Center in Tokyo in March 2001. Accompanying him was his 17-year
old daughter, Lara Hana Brady. A little girl killed at age thirteen in Auschwitz,
a young Japanese museum worker, and a 71-year old survivor of the Holocaust – three
people on three continents – connected by young people determined that
such inhumanity might never happen again.
Hana’s Suitcase was written by Karen Levine who first produced Hana’s
Suitcase for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Chapters alternate between
the present and the past in Europe with many pictures and copies of documents.
This is a different twist among the current Holocaust literature and will be
welcomed by young people and teachers alike.