Hana's Suitcase: A True Story

by Karen Levine

Paperback, 2004

Status

Available

Local notes

940.53 Lev

Collection

Publication

Albert Whitman & Co (2004), 112 pages. Paperback. $9.95.

Description

A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust center learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2002

Physical description

112 p.; 7.25 inches

ISBN

189676455X / 9781896764559

Barcode

5831

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
I begin by honestly saying this simply written book impacted me on a very deep level. Having recently finished The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, a novel of beauty and poignancy, I still carry the haunting memories of the character of Hana Schmitz, a woman who, as a prison guard at a small camp near Cracow, determined the fate of children sent to their death.

As I read Hana's Suitcase, I couldn't help but think about the two Hana's -- one adult fictionalized character for a novel, yet based on real life situations, and the other Hana, a real life child who suffered at Auschwitz by the hands of powerful guards who held her fragile life in balance.

In March of 2000 a tattered suitcase was sent from the Auschwitz Centre to the Children's Holocaust Education Center in Tokyo, Japan. Miraculously surviving 69 years, the suitcase bore the inscription Hanna Brady 625, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind.

Fumiko Ishioka, the director of the Tokyo center, wisely used the suitcase as an instrument of learning for the students who visited. Soon, the students and Ishioka became obsessed with finding the pieces of the puzzle to the story of Hanna the "Waisenkind", a word meaning orphan in German.

What they found and shared with others is a testimony to kindness, to goodness, to perseverance and to a wonderful story of hope that transcends the inhumanity of horror.

In a simple and beautfiul style, Levine alternates the journey of Fumiko and her students with the journey of a lovely young woman from Nove Mesto Czechoslovakia whose only "fault" was that she happened to be Jewish at a time when Hitler was bent on exterminating her culture, her race and identity.

This is a dramatic book filled with light that shines through the darkness.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member anniecase
Exactly what a non-fiction book should be: compelling, readable, informative and enlightening. This is the perfect introduction to the Holocaust for young readers, but it does so in a gentle way and in a creative way. I could not put this book down.
LibraryThing member tgallant
This is an amazing story of Fumiko Ishoka’s search to teach the children of Japan, another part of the war, to teach them tolerance and compassion. Fumiko is the curator for the Children’s Holocaust Centre in Tokyo. She decides that she needs items for display and asks the Auschwitz Museum for items. The Museum sends her among other things, a child’s suitcase. Written on the suitcase was “Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (the German word for orphan).” Fumiko and the children within the holocaust centre became obsessed with finding out more about Hana Brady and what had happened to her.
This book surprised me as I did not expect the origin of the museum to be Japan. They were fighting their own war at the time and had other issues to deal with. It was very impressive that a young woman could impact the young children so much that they would become as passionate as Fumiko. Throughout the book, the chapters switch back and forth between the search with Fumiko and Hana’s life. The photograph’s in the book make a major impact on the story. It is a wonderful story with a bittersweet ending. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.
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LibraryThing member Cait86
Hana's Suitcase is the true story of a Children's Holocaust Museum in Tokyo that receives a suitcase from the Auschwitz Centre with the name Hana Brady stamped on it. The curator in Tokyo, Fumiko, has no idea who Hana was, but the children who visit the museum are fascinated by the suitcase. The German word for "orphan" is stamped on the outside, along with the date May 16, 1931. The children are surprised to discover that Jews their age were sent to concentration camps, separated from their parents, and often died. Fumiko goes on a journey to uncover Hana's story, to try to help the children in Tokyo understand the horrible things that happened during WWII.

This book switches between Hana's life, and the life of Fumiko and the children she works with. The stories are woven together to show the link between past and present, and to demonstrate the lessons that can be learned through history. Hana's Suitcase is a children's book, aimed at 8-10 year-olds, but its subject is one to which anyone can relate. I think that the Holocaust is something that everyone should learn about, but it is difficult to find material for young children. This book is perfect for its age group - it doesn't skirt the issues, but it isn't graphic in content.

This was a great little read - I don't want to call it enjoyable, because of its content, but it was definitely interesting and touching. If you have an interest in the Holocaust, then Hana's Suitcase is a book that I highly recommend.
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LibraryThing member STBA
A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust center learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her.
LibraryThing member bostonbibliophile
Hana's Suitcase, by Karen Levine, published in 2007, is the true story of a young girl named Hana Brady, who was taken away by the Nazis as a small child along with her older brother George, and her suitcase, which through a chain of events ended up in Japan. It is also the story of a Japanese woman's efforts to find out about Hana- who she was and what happened to her. The book is incredibly moving. Illustrated with photographs of Hana and her family as well as the Holocaust center in Japan where her suitcase is found, Levine tells Hana's story in parallel with the story of the efforts to learn about her. This structure sets up two crushing waves of emotion that left me in tears by the end. It's bittersweet tragedy, told with beauty and sensitivity.… (more)
LibraryThing member wmswarriors
Hana’s Suitcase was a very enjoyable book for many reasons. The first reason is the way that Hana and George’s life used to be. I thought that it was fun to know how their lives were before they went to a concentration camp. Even though I got to learn about the happy times, the book was also very sad. Hana and her brother never saw their parents anywhere they went, and living at a camp was torture. I thought it this book was very informational, interesting, and sad.… (more)
LibraryThing member supertomato
Hana's suitcase is a sad true story.I do not reccomend this book to people who can't read about sad storys.When i first read this book i felt so sorry for the Brady family one out of four survived.I wonder what happened to Hana's friend Ella.Did she die in the gas shower to?Who knows but this is a great book to read!!!!!!!!!!!!
LibraryThing member skinglist
I hadn't heard of this book when I saw it at the visitor's center at Terezin but what caught my attention was the connection between the Holocaust and Japan. Two separate arenas of WW II coming together under the idea of understanding 60 years later.

Although short, this book is very powerful. It makes the Holocaust something very real. It's not abstract when it's brought to your face in the form of a little girl and young school kids' desire to understand. It's a good book for those wanting to understand or introduce the Holocaust to a young audience because it puts it in terms they can understand.

Released about 2 yrs ago (7/2/2007 2:00:00 PM BX time) at RABCK in RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases

RELEASE NOTES:

Book Mooch

This book has already traveled undocumented from the Czech Republic to NY via Switzerland and London. Lucky it didn't get deported for traveling without papers. :)
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LibraryThing member srssrs
This is a carefully crafted story of a Jewish Czech girl in the 1940s. The book evolved from a research project a holocaust museum in Japan was working on. The museum had requested some artifacts from Auschwitz, and one day a suitcase came in the mail from Europe. A group of young girls that were regular patrons of the museum desperately wanted to find out the story of "H. Brady" the name on the suitcase. One of the museum curators took on this project and that's how the book came about. It is the combined story of H. Brady and her life in Czechoslovakia prior to being arrested, and sent to a camp, and the search to uncover who H. Brady was. The book is written at an upper elementary level, but it's interest level is limitless. I've used it with drop level language arts students and advanced students too, all groups in between enjoyed the book. The book is about 100 pages, large print, primary source graphics and broken into short 2-3 page sections or chapters. It is engaging, and easy to read.… (more)
LibraryThing member LibrarysCat
Hana’s Suitcase is the story of one woman’s successful attempts to bring the Holocaust alive for Japanese children. It is also the story of Czech Jew Hana Brady and her brother George, who survived the Holocaust without knowing his sister’s final fate. Fumiko Ishioka, Director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education and Resource Center, wanted to have just one item from the Holocaust that Japanese children could touch and relate to – so they would really understand the harsh reality of the Holocaust. Fumiko was given Hana’s suitcase. On behalf of the Japanese children who visited the museum, Fumiko worked tirelessly to find out more about Hana. The book tells this story. It is a wonderful testament to the good people of this world who make a difference in the lives of children everywhere. And in some ways, Fumiko’s quest reunited George with the memory of his sister.… (more)
LibraryThing member keatkin
Hana's suitcase is truly a triumph on all fronts... rather a master-class in authentic inquiry and object literacy. The story is, in fact, really two stories in one - and the chapters alternate between Hana's childhood in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and 40s, and Fumiko's work from the Tokyo Holocaust Education Center, beginning in early 2000. The author has made a conscious effort to make this difficult subject matter more accessible to young readers, delivering the content in very child-friendly prose. Even the font is a little larger, and the chapters are a little shorter. As well, the reproductions of primary source documents such as artifacts, letters, drawings, and personal family photographs, give readers an additional sense of intimacy and insight into the short life of Hana Brady. Students will quickly find themselves absorbed in the mystery of the little suitcase and the life of its owner.… (more)
LibraryThing member stornelli
This is the true story of young Hana Brady, her parents, and her older brother, George, and how their happy life in a small town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazis.

A Japanese museum curator researching and setting up a Holocaust exhibit receives a suitcase and examines the contents, putting her in contact with a brother of the victim. The story switches back and forth between modern day Japan and WWII Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe.
George, who survives Auschwitz, immigrates to Canada after the War and settles in Toronto. The story describes how he was found and contacted to pay a visit to the museum and share his sister’s story.
… (more)
LibraryThing member debnance
A true story. A museum curator in Japan requested some items from Europe that had been possessions of Holocaust victims. She was sent a suitcase that belonged to a little girl. Some Japanese children were curious about the little girl and they began to see what they could find out about her. A sad yet lovely story.
LibraryThing member jrbeach
My rating is for the audio book. It deserved 5 stars because of the audio of actual CBC interviews with two of the major people in the book, and much fewer stars because the readers attempt at different accents was not successful – the Japanese sounded exactly like the German. It was especially irritating when you heard the Japanese character's own voice in the CBC interview!… (more)
LibraryThing member radical_rachel
Hana's Suitcase is a story that spans many years.In early 2000 a suitcase arrived at a Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, Japan. The words written on the suitcase were this: Hanna Brady, May16, 1931 and Waisenkind (orphan). Wanting to know more a dedicated woman set out to uncover Hana's story. Hana's story is tragic but, valuable. It tells of the horrors of war, separation and tragedy.It teaches all of us who live today how lucky we are. A very powerful story for all who read it.

Hana's Suitcase has won many awards including: the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year, Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch Award, Canadian Jewish Book Award, Association of Jewish Libraries Award for Best Children's Book of the Year, Ontario Library Association's Golden Oak Award and was also a nominee for the Governor General's Award
… (more)
LibraryThing member cmcvittie
Karen Levine tells the powerful story of how the curator of the Tokyo Holocaust Museum's children's program acquired a child's suitcase from Auschwitz and then, with the encouragement of a small group of children, traced the history of the owner - Hana Brady. Chapters alternate between Hana's life story and the story of how Fumiko Ishioka determinedly sought any information that would help her discover something about the mysterious "Hanna". The moving story of both Hana and the discovery of the links to her life allows children and adults to have a further understanding of the impact of the Holocaust. The inclusion of primary documents is an excellent introduction to the power of archival research. Well written and simply told, it should be in every elementary and middle school library.… (more)
LibraryThing member mmpvppl
Poignant story of a young girl's World War II experiences. I enjoyed hearing about the researcher and her efforts to discover who the suitcase belonged to and find the story behind it/her.
LibraryThing member ArielDean
I loved this book. Fumiko Ishioka is teaching her class about the Holocaust. She digs for information and gets Hana's suitcase. Nobody knows who Hana is so they research and find out she was just a little girl during this time. She was separated from her family and eventually died. I loved how the book switched fromt he Fumiko to Hana. I also like that her brother, George, came to speak to the class. This was a real touching book.… (more)
LibraryThing member ALossing
Interesting, sad [true] story about the Holocaust told in terms of its impact on the life of Hana, a young Jewish girl. Hana suffers horrible injustice, including gradually being separated from her family, and is ultimately killed in a concentration camp.

However, a museum director in Japan wants to uncover Hana's story and make it known to a group of local children, as well as to others; she goes to great lengths to track down articles from Hana's life, and ultimately finds Hana's brother, George, who is able to give more information. Many gain new insight on the atrocity that was the Holocaust through learning about Hana's story; thus, a tragic story seems to bring history to life for a group of children [and no doubt, others as well]. It seems that this story could have a similar effect on students who read it.… (more)
LibraryThing member jenunes
An engaging tale, Hana's Suitcase is a sweet story chronicalling the search by Fumiko Ishioka, a museum director in Japan, after making a promise to a group of school children that she would find out more about a suitcase put up for display. Her search takes her all over the world, from Japan to Europe to even Canada. And from that small suitcase with the word 'waisenkind', or orphan painted on the outside of it, we explore just how wide-ranging the effects of WWII were. This is one of the rare tales students will be able to read that truly encompasses a global perspective. Geared towards upper elementary or middle school, the story flows from page to page and before you know it, the ending is there and it truly makes you sit back and think.… (more)
LibraryThing member countrylife
Hana’s Suitcase is a story of heartbreak and hope. Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a holocaust museum in Japan, seeks items that will help Japanese children understand what these children from another country faced. Upon receipt of a suitcase, her quest is begun to find out whatever she can about the girl who had owned it., the story alternating between Fumiko’s search, and the history of the girl, Hana Brady. Between the heartbreak of what happened to Hana and so many other Jewish children, and the hope of knowledge and compassion felt by contemporary children, this was a compelling young adult book.… (more)
LibraryThing member lilibrarian
When the Nazis took over Czechloslovaki during World War II, life changed for the Jews. This is the story of how a suitcase donated to a small Japanese children's museum started a search for it's owner, a young Jewish girl.
LibraryThing member cspine
Hana's Suitcase, by Karen Levine, published in 2007, is the true story of a young girl named Hana Brady, who was taken away by the Nazis as a small child along with her older brother George, and her suitcase, which through a chain of events ended up in Japan. It is also the story of a Japanese woman's efforts to find out about Hana- who she was and what happened to her. The book is incredibly moving. Illustrated with photographs of Hana and her family as well as the Holocaust center in Japan where her suitcase is found, Levine tells Hana's story in parallel with the story of the efforts to learn about her. This structure sets up two crushing waves of emotion that left me in tears by the end. It's bittersweet tragedy, told with beauty and sensitivity.… (more)
LibraryThing member awoodham93
Hana's Suitcase is an incredible story that has been weaved together by many individuals and many coincidences. Fumiko wants to open a Halocaust museum in Japan because many children in Japan do not know about the Halocaust. Fumiko writes to many museums asking for an exhibit, and she is eventually sent a little girls suitcase. The suitcase had the name Hana Brady written on it, and the children in Japan are immediately curious about who Hana was and what happened to her. Through much effort, Fumiko is able to find the Hana was unfortunately murdered at Aushwitz. However, Fumiko is able to get into contact with George Brady, Hana's brother who survived the war. George helps Fumiko honor Hana's life through telling her story in Japan and then all around the world. Hana is finally able to accomplish her dream of becoming a teacher throught he museum in Japan. This is a truely inspiring story about the power of the human spirit.… (more)

Pages

112

Rating

(484 ratings; 4.5)
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