Review Blog

Sep 10 2014

Hana's suitcase: a true story by Karen Levine

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Anniversary edition, Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317679.
(Ages: 10-14) Highly recommended. There would be few people who remain unaware of the poignant story of Hana's suitcase and the diligent unravelling that brought a young Holocaust victim back to the living. After the successful radio documentary, numerous awards, film documentary, years of touring and travelling and speaking, by the author Karen Levine, the determined Fumiko Ishioka, Hana's brother Georg as well as his daughter Lara, this tenth anniversary of the book republishes the original text and adds a wealth of updated information and images.
The main participants in sharing Hana's ill-fated story with modern children, in their stalwart endeavour to spread the message of peace, each add their reflections on the past ten years. There is also much additional material in the messages, images and poetry from children all around the world.
'From little things, big things grow' is very apt in this instance. When Fumiko, curator of the Japanese Holocaust Education Centre, requested a child's artefact from the Auschwitz Museum, to be the focal point of an educational program and exhibit 'The Holocaust through the Eyes of a Child', she little thought that her group of dedicated students would spur her on to uncover the truth about Hana Brady's fate in the darkest days of human history. When Hana's suitcase arrived from Auschwitz, bearing only her name and the information that she was an orphan, there was scant evidence to piece together the rest of the puzzle. How fortunate that this remarkable young woman refused to be daunted and kept on digging until she was not only able to piece together Hana's history but become connected with Hana's brother and in a small way help him heal after sixty long years.
I can only say if you have not yet read this - you must - and share it with all young people who are able to appreciate the enormity of both the atrocity and the challenge to restore Hana to her living family.
Visit the Brady Family museum online.
And view the trailer of 'Inside Hana's suitcase'.
Sue Warren

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