How did a young girl’s suitcase end up inspiring a book read in 40 countries and now, a play?
Hana Brady was a young Czechoslovakian Jew who died at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, leaving behind a small suitcase with her name written on its side. In 2000, her suitcase was exhibited at a Japanese Holocaust Education Centre, where curator Fumiko Ishioka began to investigate Hana’s short life with the assistance of a group of local schoolchildren. Their research lead them to Hana’s older brother, George Brady, who survived the Holocaust as a labourer and later settled in Toronto.
Hana and Fumiko’s tale has subsequently been turned into a children’s radio program and award-winning and bestselling book that became the framework for the play. Rumour has it that it may eventually be made into a movie.
Hana’s Suitcase has become an international phenomenon, now available in 40 countries. Much like The Diary of Anne Frank, the book is used in elementary schools to educate children about the atrocities of the Holocaust, and its popularity is growing at an exponential rate.
The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People is currently hosting the world premiere of Hana’s Suitcase until April 27.