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Hana's Suitcase

Karen Levine tells the intertwining stories of an orphan from Nazi Germany and a curator who runs a Holocaust education centre in Tokyo.

Karen Levine

Based on a CBC Radio documentary produced by Levine, Hana's Suitcase tells two gripping stories: that of Hana Brady, a young girl whose suitcase shows up at a children's Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, Japan, and that of Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of the centre who embarks on a thrilling search to find out Hana's story. What unfolds is a journey that takes Ishioka back 70 years and exposes her and her students to the horrors of the Holocaust through the lens of Hana's story. 

Hana's Suitcase is for readers ages 8 and up.

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From the book

Really, it's a very ordinary looking suitcase. A little tattered around the edges, but in good condition.

It's brown. It's big. You could fit quite a lot in it — clothes for a long trip, maybe. Books, games, treasures, toys. But there is nothing inside it now.

Every day children come to a little museum in Tokyo, Japan to see this suitcase. It sits in a glass cabinet. And through the glass you can see that there is writing on the suitcase. In white paint, across the front, there is a girl's name: Hana Brady. A date of birth: May 16, 1931. And one other word: Waisenkind. That's the German word for orphan.


From Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine ©2002. Published by Second Story Press.

More about this book

The extraordinary tale behind an ordinary suitcase belonging to a girl who was sent to Auschwitz. 28:02

Correction: An earlier description said that Hana was German. She was Czech.