Holocaust survivor to teach Scots children about genocide

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Brother and sister George and Hana at school before the war

A Holocaust survivor whose story is told in an upcoming movie has travelled to Scotland to teach children about genocide.

George Brady, 84, has come to give a detailed account of his life during World War II and will teach pupils in schools across Scotland about the horrors of the holocaust.

The 84-year-old became separated from his 13-year-old sister Hana during the atrocity and later found out that she had died in Auschwitz.

The survivor assumed he would never see his sister’s possessions again until in 1999 he got a phone call to say her suitcase had been found- over half a century later.

The artefact was found by Fumiko Ishioka, the owner of a Holocaust museum in Japan.

Ms Ishioka tracked down Mr Brady- who emigrated to Canada after the war- and now the story of the suitcase can be seen in the film Inside Hana’s Suitcase.

As Holocaust Memorial Day approaches this week, George and Fumiko will travel across Scotland teaching children about the horror of the Holocaust.

Speaking ahead of a UK premier of the film on Monday, George said: “The film is not only about the Holocaust, it teaches respect for others.

“It shows what happens when people hate each other.”

Originally from Czechoslovakia, the Brady family became separated in 1941 after the Nazis invaded.

Responsible

Just a few years older than his sister, George looked after Hana as they were moved to internment camps.

George Brady spoke about the film Inside Hana's Suitcase

Speaking today, he described his heartbreaking last meeting with Hana, before he was sent to a hard labour camp and she was sent to her death in the gas chambers.

He said: “The last time I saw her was in the Fall of 1944, it’s was clear at that point the Nazis were losing.

“We thought it was only a question of surviving a few more months.

“So we thought we would see each other again soon.

“We never would have imagined she would be put in the gas chamber. Even today it’s hard to understand.”

After the war, George returned to his home village of Nove Mesto and found that almost his entire family was dead.

He said: “The moment I got home I found out Hana went toAuschwitz, I knew it wasn’t likely she survived.

“Three months later I met a girl inPraguewho was with her.

“When I heard she died my legs just about gave out… I felt so responsible for her.”

After the war, George moved to Canada to start a new life.

Parallels 

But on the other side of the world in 1999, a Japanese woman was determined to teach children there about the Holocaust.

Fumiko, 41, said: “When I was a student I only remembered the pictures of lots of dead bodies.

George Brady and Fumiko Ishioka are in Scotland to speak about Inside Hana's Suitcase

“I wanted students to feel more lose to the life that was lost, I wanted to give the Holocaust a human face.”

Fumiko set up a Holocaust museum which was made up of the possessions of the people who were killed in the genocide.

When she received Hana’s suitcase, she decided to trace it back to its original owner but when she found that Hana was dead, she tracked down George instead.

The story was then turned into a book, and was later adapted for the film Inside Hana’s Suitcase.

Director of the film, Larry Weinstein said: “It’s such a powerful story.

“It has parallels with Anne Frank, because it concerns a young girl who we can relate to.”

George and Fumiko will travel between Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow to talk to school children about the film and the Holocaust in a series of events organized with the Scottish Interfaith Council.

Speaking about the film, George said: He said: “It doesn’t bother me to see it and read about it again.

”It’s becoming not a habit, but I’m getting used to it.

”I would just go crazy if I was upset about it.”

The film will open at Filmhouse Cinema Edinburgh on Monday January 23.

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. My daughter wanted to write him a letter after learning about his story. Is there any way to go about finding a contact for him? Thanks…

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