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November 21, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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November 21, 2003
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 21, 2003 PAGE 19 II SUl By Bill Gladstone TORONTO (JTA)--A child's suitcase that was abandoned by its owner at a Nazi death camp has become the unlikely epicenter of a remarkable literary success Story stretching from Toronto to Tokyo. The small brown, slightly tattered suitcase is clearly raarked as the property of lana Brady, a young orphan. After gathering dust at Auschwitz for nearly six de- Cades, the unassuming relic has taken on new life by in- spiring a children's story that apparently has touched un- told numbers around the World. An international best Sell, , er, Hanas Suitcase so far has been translated into 17 languages. Written by Toronto radio Producer Karen Levine and first published last year as an illustrated book for children, the book relates the true story ~lf how the director of a small oiocaust museum in Japan received the suitcase from the Auschwitz Holocaust Mu- Seum and began an investi- gation into its former owner. Seeing the suitcase in a drawn tens of thousands of a Canadian Jewish Book display case, visiting school- people at dozens of sites Award. Earlier this year it children were full of curios- around Japan. was named the Canadian Li- ity about the mysterious girl After Levine wrote a rivet- brary Association's Book of whose name was painted on ingradiodocumentaryabout the Year for Children. it in big white letters, along Brady's experiences, Toronto Now 75 years old, George with the word "Waisenkind," publisher Margie Wolfe Brady spent two and a half German for orphan, urged her to turn the story years in Terezin before being Prodded by their ques- into a tale for children, transported to Auschwitz in tions, FumikoIshiokaofthe Since its publication, September1944. Hesaysthe Tokyo Hoiocaust Center used "Hana's Suitcase" has be- book has helped him deal records from the Terezin come a runaway best seller, with his family tragedy. Ghetto Museum to locatehelping bring Hana's spirit "It's taken me a long time Hana's brother, George to life for some 250,000 read- to get over my sister's death Brady, who had surviveders in 26 countries, accord- because I felt responsible for Terezin and Auschwitz and ing to Wolfe. Her publisher, her," he said. "She went to lives in Toronto. Second Story Press, pub- Auschwitz one month after TheCzech-bornBradywas iished the story as part of a me, and the older I got the stunned to receive Ishioka's series'ofHolocaustbooksfor more it bothered me." He letter, young readers, used to believe his role was He sent lshioka 15hoto-Reaching mostly non-Jew- "not to forget the past but graphs of Hana, who was just ish readers, the book has sold not to live in it," but now, as 13whenshe died, alongwith about 100,000 copies in Ja- a result of the book's popu- many details of her life. pan and gone into its third larity, Brady has become a Brady later visited Japan printing in France and its frequent public speaker on and received a warm wel- seventh in Canada, Wolfe Holocaust topics. He has re- come from schoolchildren said. ceived hundreds of letters who had adopted Hana as a "One reviewer said that lt's from readers around the symbolic representative of perhaps as important as 'The world, including many from the more than lmiilionchil- Diary of Anne Frank' in giv- teachers. dren who died in the Holo- ing a face to the Holocaust," "On many occasions, one caust. Wolfe said. "People have said could have heard a pin drop Hana's suitcase has be-that if children are not ready while Iwas reading," wrote a come the centerpiece of a for 'Anne Frank' yet, then fifth-grade teacher from traveling display, "The Holo- they should read 'HHana's Bright's Grove, Ontario. caust Seen Through Suitcase.'"Thebookhaswon "There were several days on Children's Eyes," which has numerous awards, including which children held their headslowtocovertheirtear-books," she said. "I tried to ing eyes." "The most thai- explain it to him and I said, lenging boy in my classwept 'But that's not the worst openly through much of the thing they did; they also book," wrote another fifth- killed a lot of people and one grader teacher from ofthemwasHana.'He'snow, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. I think, ready to hear it."The For Levine, who has do- book hasgeneratedabout 10 nated all royalties from the offers for film rights and two book to the Tokyo Holocaust for theater rights so far, ac- Center, the book's popular- cording to Wolfe, the pub- ity came as a total surprise, lisher~ who said any decision "I'd never written a book would invoive both Brady and before and I had no idea how Ishioka. overwhelming the response "We feel strongly that how- would be," Levine said."It's ever we can heip Fumiko and hugelygratifyingandhugely the Holocaust Center in Ja- rewarding." When writing pan, wewill, becauseFumiko the book, the iongtime Ca- is the heroine of the story," nadian Broadcasting Corpo- Wolfe said. ration radio producer said Wolfe said the book has shestruggledwithhowmuch succeeded beyond all expec- information to include, ration because of its ability "I decided not to include to put a human face--Hana the most gory of details, and Brady's--on a numbing sta- I know those questions will tistic. come out when children are "Hana, for all her sweet- reading the book," she said. hess, was just one of a mil- "I only hope they will have a lion children killed in the smart and sensitive and Holocaust," she said."When knowledgeable adult to ask." you tell people a million Jew- Levine's own son recently ish children were killed, that turned 8 and has begun ask- doesn't really mean anything. ing questions about Nazis, You can't picture that hor- she said. for. But when you hear the "A few days ago he started story of Hana, then you be- asking me why they burned gintoseethebiggerpicture." Turkey Continued from page 1 Agency held an emergency last three months regarding low and the damage was lira- conference call Saturday possible attacks and had noti- ited to the entrance. SUnday afternoon, accompa- evening with members offiedthepoliceabouttheircon- Most of the day's injured ledbyGul. . world Jewish communities, cerns. Security at Istanbul's came from the Belt Israel Turkish police arrested~ including France, England, synagogues had been in- synagogue, which was filled ~ree people in connection South America and the United creased in response, officials withanestimated300people, States, to determine ways to said. lith the bombings, but they many of them there to eel- ready had been released a combat anti-Semitism and "If we didn't have security ebrate the recent renovation ~Y later, according to news anti-Zionism, as good as it is, the tragedy of a smaller sanctuary in the reports. The group plans to meetcould have been a lot worse, back of the synagogue, close ~ebeIsraeliPrimeMinisterAriel again soon to address threats We wouldn't have been as to where the car bomb ex- baron opened the weeklyto Jewsworldwide. lucky," community leader pioded. inet meeting with a state- Overnight, religious Israeli Filiba said. After the bombing, that nt-of condolences for the forensic volunteers, still in In front of the Neve Sha- sanctuary was littered with victims, their Sabbath clothes, donned lore Synagogue, a deep crater dust and shattered glass, ~'q~/esawyesterdayyetagain fluorescent vests and scoured marked the spot where Turk- prayer books and blood- t terrorism knows no the bomb sites for body parts, ish officials said the small, stained prayer shawls cover- nds," Sharon said. "Ter- "We are, unfortunately, explosives-packed truck blew ing the ground and the rows rt ~Smdoesn'tdiscriminateby usedtoterrorinIsraelandfeei up. A blackened axle was all of wooden chairs. :ehgion or blood. The aim of we can help here, in actor- that remained of the vehicle. The force of the explosion |ar~ w'~ ~rl'o ~ ist5 |- rlsm ts one, to sow fear dance with Jewish law," their The stone and wrought- carried through the syna- ~t~;t l:| ~d terror through the slay- spokesman told curious local iron facade of the synagogue gogue, completely blowing :e are] t~.~.Ofinnocentpeople. Inter- journalists, was completelydestroyed, the out a large window in the -"- I'NttlonaiJ wishordanizations An Israeli diplomat noted synagogue's foyer filled with building's front, leaving a ~ i~ |, mobilized. The American that Turkey was ripe for rio- a tangle of twisted metal and large empty circle where a !~ is,~Wish Joint Distribution lence by Islamic terrorists, shattered glass, stained glass Star of David ::~nr ~ tteelsralsmg ndsto'~i As the world's only Mus-The synagogue is locatedused to be. ; ur'it tr~urkey'sJewishaf~dgen-est community after lim democracy, with ties to on a narrow street in one of Amongthose killedat Belt s,'~ |'~he: .::] %rday's attacks. Israel, Turkey is doublylikely Istanbul's most historic dis- Israel were a woman in her to be hit by Islamist terrorism, triers, an area filledwith small 80s and her 8-year-old grand- Y nd| ,7'hiswasanattackonTurk- Thatputs Turkish Jews ail the shopsseilinglampsandchan- daughter.AtNeveShalom, the ~'tff,~a Society," in which Jews more at risk," the diplomat deliers. The explosion devas- victimsincludedawomanwho ,Y~i] ~ve lived since the Spanish said, according to Reuters. toted the entire length of the was four months pregnant. ~i ~Ulsition, said Steven Such concerns were noth-street, shattering store win- Turkey's chief rabbi, Isak "~|~ h~aeer executive viceingnewforNessliVarol, a23- dows and leaving some balco- Haleva, and Ben Zion Pinto, sW~I' ii~r~, ~ntofthe)DCSchw.ager,",year-old daughter of Turkish nies on the verge 0f collapse, president of the 20,000-mem- tt,~''~megrouphopestoraisea emigreswho flew in from Is- "I heard the explosion. I ber Turkish Jewish commu- ustP'|~milli ~rrebuildtth~|2~gues oyedin h raei for the funeral ofan uncle thoughtitwasanearthquake, nity, wereatBeitIsraelwhen killedin the Belt Israel attack. From my front terrace I saw the bombing occurred. Nei- ~.sl ~kand restore local shops. "The Jews here have a pros- people coming out of the syna- ther was injured. l or'its part, the Jewish "I was praying when sud- perous life, but there is also gogue, some of them covered for Israel dispatched a fear. They stick together and in blood," said Gulen Guler, denly there was an explosion :~Slon of hi h level staff to ~]~ g - avoidtoomuchexposure,"she who lives in a building a few under us and all the windows region Saturday evening, told Reuters. "When I used to doors down from Neve Sha- blew open and I was left stand- lori~!i~|~h~l~roup included two psy- visit my grandmother as a Iom. "We could see bodies ly- ing there in shock in the i|~ g'sts who are terror spe- child, she wouid tell her Mus- ing in the street and w!ndows middle of heavy smoke," :~|~tlsts and two youth leaders lira friends Iwas from, France, smashed everywhere. Neve Haleva said. are familiar with the rather than Israel. Jewish Shalom's sanctuary is set off NeveShalom, whichmeans "Oasis of Peace" in Hebrew, community officials said they from the street, so the hum: Io, !| buJ Jewish community. >er 1~| ~ addition, the Jewish havebeenonhighalertforthe bet of injured was relatively was the target of a terrorist ng UF Kahn P.~a+t ~,Wise Philanthropic Fund), Marilyn Goldman, and Sy Is- ,rouen rom page t onunuea n'om page t C '; 10rL and Barbara Weinreich;rael; Contributors: Roy and - ~:]~i i~]h~"~d communitwand.~ the Snonsors', . David and Judy Patricia Ambinder, Hal and caustCenterofCentralFlorida lg3 ~v r ved bt,stty of Central Florida Albertson, Hy and Harnett V ctorla Kantor and was born in Ludw gshaven, de '] .l ngtime.Forthisweare Lake, Sherman, Jordan and Seymour Weiner, and Germany, and narrowly es- r,~J~f~3 ted to ,ou and to ,our Barry Miller (Theima Friends" Victor and Ronit caped to the U S with his par- Shefner Miller Memorial Eyal, Marc and Henrietta ents and two brothers. He gre~!iq~ following individuals Fund), Abe and Tess Wise Katzen, Eli and Ina Porth, served with distinction in the ~amfl~e e ra andZeh andBobb~W~se O Gerald and Beth Rutberg, U S Arm Atr Corps where he .(#~ " " s have giv n g - "g " ' ( y" stati~L.~'~ to the program, Z Wise Family Trust), and StephenandJudySchreiber, taughtGermantojudgeadvo- attack in 1986, when gunmen tutions were targeted in a se- believed to be Palestinians ties of terrorist bombings in from the Abu Nidal terrorist Casablanca, Morocco. group burst into the syna- Israel had warned Turkey gogue, killing 22. several times of the possibility Since then, security at of an attack on the country's Istanbui's synagogues has Jewishcommunity, thelsraeli been extremely tight, with24- dailyHa'aretz reported. hour police protection aug- "I'm sure the Turkish gov- mented by a private security ernment has done everything forcehiredbytheTurkishJew- possible to prevent an attack ish community, like this," said Pinchas Avivi, An outlawed Turkish radi- Israel's new ambassador to col group called the Great East- Turkey. "To my great sorrow, ern Islamic Raiders Front the organization and sophis- claimed responsibility for the tication of this attack indi- attacks. Turkish officials dis- cite that it wasn't a local or- missed the claim, however, ganization." Turkey's Jewish saying the group did not have community traces its roots to the resources to mount this 1492, when Jews expelled kind of coordinated attack, from Spain were welcomed to In a news conference, the Ottoman Empire. Despite Turkey's interior minister, living in a predominantly AbdulkadirAksu, said similar Muslim country, Turkey*s trucks were used in the two Jewish community prides it- attackandthattheycontained self on being an example of similar explosives, according successful religious coexist- to initial police analysis, ence. "It is obvious that this ter- In addition, Turkey has rorist attack has some inter- strong economic and defense national connections," Gul, ties with Israel that have an- the foreign minister, said. gered elements in the Muslim Gul's claim was echoed by world local Israeli diplomats, who "Unfortunately, we are see- comparedtheattacktoanApril ing this kind of attack again," 2002 AI-Qaida car bombing of said Moris Levi, a member of a historic synagogue on the the Jewish community's advi- TunisianislandofDjerba.That sory board. attack killed 21 people, mostly "After the Neve Shalom at- foreign tourists, tack in 1986, our community Several other high-profile was very united," Levi said. attacks on Jewish targets have "Today our synagogueswillbe been carried out in the past open in the afternoon and I'm year. Last November, an Is- sure many people will go. All raeli-ownedhotelwasbombed we can do is help the families in Kenya, and missiles fired at who lost people." Funds for anlsraelipassengerplaneleav- the JDC's relief effort in Tur- ing a nearby airport narrowly key can be sent to the group's missed. "Turkey mailbox" at 711Third Then, in May, Jewish insti- Avenue, New York, NY 10017. He has received numerousmade possible by the Jewish national and international FederationofGreaterOrlando, awards for his achievement in the Florida Humanities Coun- various media. He has been a cil, and Darden restaurants. strong and continuous sup- The project is also funded in porter of the Holocaust Me- part by United Arts of Central morial Center. One of his Florida, lnc, State of Florida, pieces"The Soldier and the Department of State, Division Survivor" is now in three other of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts cities; Los Angeles, Ft. Lau- Council and the National En- derdale, and Chicago. dowments for the Arts. For in- Thisexhibitandprogramare formation call 407-628-0555.