What is Hana's suitcase?

Hana's suitcase was loaned to
the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center
from the Auschwitz Museum in Poland in 2000.

When it arrived, it inspired much conversation among the members of Small Wings,
a group of volunteer students, and other visitors.
All we knew about her was her name, her birthday,
and that she arrived in Auschwitz in October 1944
and was sent to the gas chamber on that same day.

Fumiko Ishioka, Director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center
and the students thought about how to use this one ordinary suitcase
to tell the story of the Holocaust, such enourmous tragedy.
They decided that they wanted to make this suitcase a symbol of life,
not of death of an unknown child.
They wanted to give the Holocaust a human face.
So the search for Hana began.
Through strange coincidence and good luck,
eventually, Fumiko not only found Hana's brother, George Brady, her only surviving family member,
but he shared with her an amazing collection of family photographs and so much memories.
Hana's suitcase has become much more than a historical artifact.
It has become a bridge between a beautiful little girl named Hana
and the children of Japan, and now children of all over the world,
who are learning the lessons of tolerance, compassion, and respect.

Tokyo Holocaust Center was established to teach young students dangers of prejudice, intolerance, and hatred,
and to empower them to build more compassionate society.


Fumiko visited Auschwitz to ask for a loan of artifacts
for the exhibition "The Holocaust Seen
Through Children's Eyes."
Museum at Auschwitz agreed to lend her 5 objects and
sent her photos. One of them was Hana's Suitcase.

March 2000

Hana's suitcase arrived at the Tokyo Holocaust Center.
Who was Hana Brady? Where was she from?
What happened to her parents?
What did she look like?
We knew nothing.

June 2000
Fumiko learned that Hana was in Terezin ghetto
before she was sent to Auschwitz.
She found 5 drawings Hana made in Terezin.

July 2000
Fumiko visited the museum in Terezin.
From the transport list, she found out that Hana had a brother. 
A post-war indication on the records showed that
the brother, George Brady, had survived.
With coincidences and good luck,
Fumiko met his bunkmate in Prague.
He told her George is still well and alive in Toronto, Canada.

August 2000
 Small Wings students and Fumiko wrote to George Brady
and asked him to share his memory of Hana.

September 2000
George Brady sent us four-page long letter of his memories
of his beloved sister together with 4 photographs
of Hana and the family.

January 2001
After more letters and telephone conversations,
Fumiko traveled to Toronto to meet George,
bringing along more letters, drawings, and poems by children
who learned about Hanna's suitcase.

While in Canada, the CBC Radio producer
Karen Levine interviewed George and Fumiko together.
The broadcast was heard across the entire country.

March 2001
George Brady and his daughter, Lara, came to Japan
for the first time to see Hana's Suitcase and
to meet Japanese children.