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In 2000 a suitcase arrived at a children's Holocaust education center in Tokyo Japan marked. 5 My son Gabriel Zev Enright Levine is six years old now too young to know Hana s story But when he is old enough I ll read it to him I hope he will be as drawn to Hana George and Fumiko as I was I also hope he will learn from the story that history matters and that despite the most unspeakable evil good people and good deeds can make a difference In author s acknowledgementsHere you can see the cover of the book a little clearlyCover photo of HanaThis wonderful project began because an anonymous Japanese donor felt it was important for Japanese kids to understand history and work towards world peace Many young people in Japan may not realise that during World War Two Japan was allied with Germany They doubtless know about the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima but may not be aware of what Hitler was actually doing In this book he is wiping out Czechoslovakian JewsFumiko Ishioka is the young director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center and school groups tour often She had contacted other museums and begged for a few objects belonging to children to show people to make the experience real She finally received a few items and an empty suitcase Hana s suitcase with her name spelled the German way double N and her date of birthHana s suitcase Waisenkind means orphanA group of students formed the Small Wings Club writing newsletters and sharing whatever information they could find about Hana Brady They pressured they young director to find out Ishioka persisted and finally tracked down some drawings Hana had done at home in her childhood many of which are reproduced in the bookThe Small WingsAnd here s how the Small Wings are carrying out their assignment from the anonymous donorSmall Wings members hold signs saying Let s Learn Think and Act to create peace for the 21st century The book itself alternates between Ishioka s hunt for information and Hana s own biography written from details discovered later This is perseverance which I imagine few people are capable of Yes you CAN end a sentence in a preposition no matter what the Grammar Police say But I digress Ishioka flew to Europe than once convinced other museums directors everyone she could find to trace as much as they could The biography tells us this Lists Everywhere there were lists The Nazis were systematic record keepers and they wanted all their prisoners to know it Through the constant counting and listing of people the Nazis reminded the inmates who was in charge Everyone knew that being counted being noticed could mean a transport and another separation from family and friends And lists mean names and birthdates and destinations Ishioka followed every small trail until she tracked down a surprising amount of detail The book is full of photographs some from Hana s own past and some from various locations I ll include a few here since they won t spoil the book It s been published in many countriesThe one small disappointment is that the suitcase itself is a replica created by the Auschwitz Museum when the original was destroyed in a fire but nobody remembered to tell Ishioka The replacement was discovered when comparing old photographs But never mind the story itself is fascinating and true Here are a few photos of the very real people involved There are many many I don t know how many schools in which countries use this book in classes but I reckon that all children everywhere should study it These kids these happy well dressed much loved kids could have been any of us if we d been in the wrong place at the wrong time One of my favourite sayings is that there s no limit to what you can achieve if you don t care who gets the credit What a great thing that anonymous donor startedBarb s comment below pointed me to the Paper Clip Project Have a look wonderful idea to help children and adults understand the enormity of this tragedy

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Hana's Suitcase

Hana Brady May 16 1931 The center's curator searches for clues to young Hana and her famil. While reading this true story about an 13 year old holocaust victim written for children I couldn t help but be reminded of The Diary of a Young Girl and how in spite of the horrendous circumstances of both Anne and Hana our spirits can be uplifted Fumiko Ishioka Director of the Tokyo Holocaust Museum lovingly devoted herself to insuring that Japanese children would learn what happened to six million Jews of which one and a half million were children Through her persistence and the telling of Hana s story by Levine in this book children world over can learn about what happenedIt was especially moving that the group of children called Small Wings were so captivated by Hana and that by discovering what Hana s life was like before the Nazis they could relate to this young girl and thus begin to understand how great the loss What better way could you teach children about the Holocaust than through another child The beautiful drawings and pictures made Hana come to life again The touching scene when Hana s brother George meets the children is really beyond any words other than what Levine has writtenI was also reminded of a novel I read recently The Street Sweeper in which the heart of the novel is the profound message of tell then what happened here From a poem read at the end of the book We Small Wings will tell every child in Japan what happened to Hana We Small Wings will never forget what happened to one and a half million Jewish childrenWe children can make a difference in building peace in the world so that the Holocaust will never happen again

Karen Levine ¿ 8 review

Y whose happy life in a small Czech town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazi. Title Hana s SuitcaseType StandaloneAuthor Karen LevineFirst Published On Jan 1 2002Rating 5 stars Hana Brady thirteen years old was the owner of this suitcase Fifty five years ago May 18 1942 two days after Hana s eleventh birthday she was taken to Terezin in CzechoslovakiaOctober 23 1944 crowded into the freight train she was sent to AuschwitzShe was taken to the gas chamber right after People were allowed to take only one suitcase with themI wonder what Hana put in her suitcaseHana would have been sixty nine years old today but her life stopped when she was thirteenI wonder what kind of girl she was A few drawings she made at Terezin these are the only things she left for us What do these drawings tell usWhat do these drawings tell us Happy memories of her family Dreams and hopes for the future Why was she killed There was one reason She was born Jewish Hana s Suitcase tells the story of a Czech girl Hana Brady and how her tragic fate in the Second World War came to touch the hearts of children on the other side of the globe and over half a century later There have been many books written about the Holocaust but this story is differentThis story begins with a happy family in Czechoslovakia whose life was changed forever and turned upside down when the Holocaust began The book switches from the perspective of from Hana and her family to a woman named Fumiko Ishioka in Tokyo Japan 70 years later Fumiko Ishioka is the director of Holocaust museum in TokyoFumiko wanted young people in Japan to learn from the HolocaustShe decided the best way to start would be through physical objects that the children could see and touch She wrote to Jewish and Holocaust museums all over the world asking for a loan of artifacts that had belonged to childrenFrom Auschwitz she got a pair of socks a sweater a canister of gas and a suitcaseFrom the day the suitcase arrived in Tokyo Fumiko and the children were drawn to it Fumiko Ishioka was eager to find out about Hana because she has a suitcase from the Holocaust with the name Hana Brady in her museum Fumiko Ishioka then travells to Czech Republic to find the story of Hana Brady This book is so inspiring and so touching the book shows all the hardships Hana and George had to go through during the holocaustIt also shows the determination of Fumiko Ishioka in finding the story of Hana It was well illustrated showing original pictures of the Brady family Fumiko her museum the conditions of the Holocaust and much It broke my heart how this loving family was separatedIts a wonderful story about a young girl who didn t survive the Holocaust but who is brought to life by the perseverance and determination by a Japanese teacher who wants to spread the story of this period to her pupils in a memorable wayThe whole thing could be read in two hours and bring tears to your eyesan excellent book to introduce kids to the holocaust5 million stars to Hana s Suitcase


10 thoughts on “Hana's Suitcase

  1. says:

    5★“My son — Gabriel Zev Enright Levine — is six years old now too young to know Hana's story But when he is old enough I'll read it to him I hope he will be as drawn to Hana George and Fumiko as I was I also hope he will learn from the story that history matters and that despite the most unspeakable evil good people and go

  2. says:

    Sometimes I tend to go round the bend and end up doing things that I'v made myself promise not to do Reading about Holocaust is one of those BIG NOs for me Not because I don't want to know about the horrors that transpired in the name of ethnic cleansing but rather I'v read SO MUCH about it that the stories wil

  3. says:

    This well written surprisingly enjoyable book starts in Czechoslovakia in the early 1900's where a little girl named Hana is born and grows up in a loving family with her older brother Then it switches for the next chapter to modern day Japan where a young lady is putting together a museum for children on the Holocaust She writes

  4. says:

    This is a book designed for children but really it is for all of us It is timeless It’s tremendously touching and so sadA very motivated Japanese woman Fumiko Ishioka has set up a Holocaust Education Center in Tokyo to educate young Japanese children about the Holocaust something many in Japan are not aware of and by this try to get them to accept the diversity of human kind and avoid repeating what happene

  5. says:

    While reading this true story about an 13 year old holocaust victim written for children I couldn't help but be reminded of The Diary of a Young Girl and how in spite of the horrendous circumstances of both Anne and Hana our spirits can be uplifted Fumiko Ishioka Director of the Tokyo Holocaust Museum lovingly devoted herself to insuring that Japanese children would learn what happened to six million Jews of wh

  6. says:

    I did not realize at first that the novel was predominantly for children thus I felt a little let down but only a very little Hana's

  7. says:

    Wow What an amazing story I read this in about one hour I loved the juxtaposition of the two stories told together Hana was a young Jewish girl who did not survive the Holocaust The book is a tale of Hana her family and their many obstacles dur

  8. says:

    Title Hana's SuitcaseType StandaloneAuthor Karen LevineFirst Published On Jan 1 2002Rating 5 stars '' Hana Brady thirteen years old was the owner of this suitcase Fifty five years ago May 18 1942 — two days after Hana’s eleventh birthday — she was taken to Terezin in CzechoslovakiaOctober 23 1944 crowded i

  9. says:

    Hana's Suitcase is a surprisingly well written and entertaining story despite the tragic tone contained in the bookThis is

  10. says:

    Hana's Suitcase was such a powerful and emotional story Fumiko Ishioka's relentless pursuit for the truth and Hana Brady's tragic journey col

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