Yom HaShoah: Children of the Holocaust

In-gallery activity: Hana’s Suitcase and the Terezín drawings

April 27, 2019 and May 1, 2019

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Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0, Valley2city

Event details

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

Museum galleries on Level 4

Hana Brady was only eight 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, she and her brother were sent to live with their aunt and uncle. Hana only had a few minutes to pack one small suitcase with any belongings or keepsakes. How would she choose what to pick? And how would she keep her memories of her Jewish family and community alive?

Eventually, Hana and her brother George would be sent to Terezín 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.

This program will include a reading of Karen Levine’s internationally renowned children’s book on the life of Hana Brady, Hana’s Suitcase. 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 in Europe in the 1930s. Children will see that Hana also had favourite 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 learn that 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.

For Yom HaShoah, the Museum will also feature drawings from Terezín where Hana spent time in captivity. The drawings were found hidden in another suitcase and represent the effort to create beauty amidst suffering.

The Yom HaShoah: Children of the Holocaust program will memorialize Yom HaShoah and provide families with an experience that expands on ideas of inclusion, dignity and human rights.

Saturday, April 27

Included with Museum admission

Wednesday, May 1Free

This is a come‐and‐go activity.