Social Justice Stories

building compassion, tolerance, and responsible citizenship through social justice narratives

Hana's Suitcase takes place on three continents and in several countries. The historical story happens in Czechoslovakia, a country in Central Europe now called the Czech Republic. In 1939, the Nazis invaded western Czechoslovakia, and took over the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, including the small town of Nove Mesto where George and Hana Brady lived with their parents. Being the only Jewish family in the area, they soon faced discrimination, were banned from public places and forbidden to attend school. In 1942, Nazis began deporting Jews from the area to Theresienstadt, a ghetto located 60 km outside the capital city of Prague. By war's end, most Jewish prisoners of Theresienstadt were sent to Auschwitz, a concentration camp in Poland, where the majority did not survive.

The modern day story begins in Tokyo, Japan, where Fumiko Ishioka runs a Holocaust education centre. Her journey takes her to Europe where she visits the Czech Republic and the ghetto in Terezin, which was known as Theresienstadt when Hana and George Brady were prisoners there. Eventually the story reaches Toronto, Canada, where George Brady has lived for many years.