Working with “Inside Hana’s Suitcase” and “Hana’s Suitcase”

“Inside Hana’s Suitcase” and “Hana’s Suitcase” 

update: Today, if you’re in Canada, tune in to CBC at 8:00 P.M.

Toronto filmmaker Larry Weinstein’s deeply affecting 2009 Holocaust documentary Inside Hana’s Suitcase (CBC, 8 p.m.) is meaningful and heartfelt, about one young girl’s experiences of the Holocaust, without stooping to condescension or cheap sentimentality.

To Reach out and Touch the Holocaust

Who's Who, Inside Hana's Suitcase

Back in November 2009, I posted about my brother’s film, Inside Hana’s Suitcase, being screened. Since then, the film has travelled to many festivals, including here in the Jerusalem Film Festival. The book Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine, translated into at least 44 languages, has continued to be read and enjoyed.

Now, it’s my turn to do something with this story. I’ve been maniacally working on a series of lessons for Hebrew-speaking English language learners. My goal is to awaken my students’ curiousity in the incredible story of how Fumiko Ishioka, head of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center, was able to borrow a suitcase from the Auschwitz Museum and through her desire to teach Japanese children the story of the Holocaust, tracked down the owner of the suitcase and her brother.

This story circled the globe bringing new information to George Brady, alive and well in Toronto, Canada about his sister, Hana. He learned of her days in Terezin via drawings sent to him by Fumiko, and he learned that her suitcase had found its way to Tokyo. He also discovered how children around the world were eager to learn about Hana and his own history.

The story touches all who read it, and the film energizes it anew, in its dramatizations of the Brady family life in Czechoslovakia before WWII and the changes in life that came with the Nazi restrictions and deportations to Terezin.

I’m grappling with the following questions:

  • How can I make this story accessible to non-English speakers?
  • How can I present the story  in a way that arouses curiousity to know more?
  • How can I help non-English speakers understand the film, currently unavailable with sub-titles?

The process is exciting, especially since I am so very impressed with the original book and especially Larry’s film, Inside Hana’s Suitcase. Stay tuned. If anyone reading is interested, drop a comment!

- judih

Hana's drawing from Terezin

Filmmaker Larry Weinstein tells the story Inside Hana’s Suitcase | Vancouver, Canada | Straight.com

This is an especially good review of my brother’s film, Inside Hana’s Suitcase.

It touches on the theatrical devices used to create the effects, the special choice of music and the voices of children to narrate the story.

 

 

 

 

Filmmaker Larry Weinstein tells the story Inside Hana’s Suitcase | Vancouver, Canada | Straight.com.