Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (or Yom ha-Shoah) commemorates the 6 million Jewish people who perished due to the policies and actions of Nazi Germany. In present day Canada, it is an opportunity for all to re-affirm their commitment to human rights.

Hana Brady was only 8 years old in 1939 when the Nazis invaded her home country of Czechoslovakia. As a young Jewish girl, she experienced increasing restrictions on her rights and fundamental freedoms. After her parents were arrested by the Nazis, her and her brother were sent to live with their aunt and uncle. Hana had only a few minutes to pack one small suitcase with all her memories of her Jewish community and her family. How could she choose what to pick? How would she keep her memories alive?

Eventually, Hana and her brother, George, would be sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp, and later to Auschwitz. While George would survive the war and later move to Canada, Hana herself perished at Auschwitz. In 2000, her suitcase, with the word Waisenkind (orphan) across the front in big letters, was first exhibited at the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. There, it helped children to connect emotionally with Hana’s journey and the realities of the Holocaust. The story of Hana and her suitcase went on to become an international phenomenon.

The immersive program offered at the Museum will include a reading of Karen Levine’s internationally renowned children’s book on the life of Hana Brady, Hana’s Suitcase. In this activity, children will be invited to play with a collection of familiar objects that remind them of their homes and families. They will then learn about Hana’s childhood as a young Jewish child in Europe in the 1930s. She also had favorite books, toys, and family traditions! Even when she was separated from her family, Hana kept the memory of her home and culture alive through her memories. 

Children will then learn that, today, every child around the world has an inherent right to family and identity – the right to live with their family, be safe, and feel free to be who they are.

This is a come-and-go activity.


Event Details

Date: Sunday, April 23, 2017
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Turning Points for Humanity gallery on Level 4