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Inside Hana's Suitcase

George Brady , Fumiko Ishioka , Larry Weinstein    DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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The delivery of a battered suitcase to Fumiko Ishioka at the Tokyo Holocaust Museum begins the true-life mystery that became the subject of Karen Levine's best-selling book "Hanna's Suitcase". The suitcase came from the Auschwitz Museum and had Hana Brady's name painted on it. Larry Weinstein's masterful film follows Fumiko's search to discover the details of Hanna's life, which leads to the discovery of her brother George in Toronto. As small children they had been sent to Thereisenstadt for being Jewish after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. A superb musical score by Alexina Louie and Alex Pauk, coupled with dramatic reenactments stunningly shot by Horst Zeidler, catches us by the heart to invoke the tragedy of the time. The voices of children from Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic telling Hanna's story are woven around the drama, along with George's memories and Fumiko's quest, to create a film of astonishing power and hope.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
For many people, the Holocaust is fading into the mists of time; many of its lessons are being dangerously forgotten. But every once in a while, a film or book or *story* comes along that *refuses* to allow us to forget. Inside Hana's Suitcase is one of those films. It's a hybrid of documentary and biographical drama that will hold the interest of any child elementary age and up. Using contemporary interviews and recreations, it draws us into Hana's world; and we become part of her suitcase of memory, if you will. It gentles us into the story of Hana's short life; but it doesn't let us off the hook, either -- Hana's death was part of that life, too.

Inside Hana's Suitcase is a love letter to a life cut short by evil. It's also the fulfillment of the child Hana's dream to become a teacher: Hana's life teaches us that we *must* remember and we, too, must look into the suitcase of history even when what's inside is ugly -- especially, when what's inside is ugly. And after the DVD is over, we must remind our children and ourselves of *beauty* in Hana's story and how through this film and the story of her life, she teaches us and will continue to teach us for years to come. We must teach our children that the act of *remembrance* is a powerful thing; and *because* of the power of memory, the lessons of Hana's life are every bit as real and important today as they were during the time of the Nazis.

Fans of the book *Hana's Suitcase* won't be disappointed by this film. Like the book, Inside Hana's Suitcase is an opportunity to teach young people about the Holocaust and the need to practice tolerance -- and of the necessity for each of us to stand up against injustice whenever we see it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really well done March 13 2014
By justine
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I just finished a novel study of Hana's Suitcase with my 5th graders and they asked me if we could watch this. It answered a lot of questions that they still had after reading the book. Although extremely emotional, this documentary is entirely appropriate for their age group with part of Hana's story being retold by school age children.

I plan on using it every year now.

Thank you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful supplement Oct. 28 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is such a unique follow up to the book. My students need to see this information presented in other ways than print. Thank-you
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pitch-Perfect, Real-Life Holocaust Documentary for Schoolchildren Dec 4 2011
By David Crumm - Published on Amazon.com
Menemsha Films, which earlier brought us the delightful Nora's Will, is releasing a remarkable new DVD: Inside Hana's Suitcase. What makes Hana Brady's story so remarkable in its reach is that this true story circles the globe: Hana's life story--nearly extinguished in the gas and flames of Auschwitz--winds up connecting children at a Holocaust educational center in Japan with the lives of the Brady family, who were devastated in the Shoah and later scattered to North America.

Most importantly, this is a pitch-perfect choice to use with children in educational programs about World War II, the Holocaust--or in classes with general themes on war, peace, remembrance and reconciliation. In fact, the core of this story involves a diverse circle of school children who narrate much of the movie. The Japanese group that began this global quest is dubbed The Small Wings. These were children who wanted to find a project that they and their teacher could undertake to help the world remember the Holocaust and the horrors of World War II. Along the way, a woman who is a Hiroshima survivor comes and helps at the educational center. Anyone familiar with educational efforts on these complex issues will be pleased to hear that the Hiroshima survivor also gives a pitch-perfect description to the children of the major differences between the horrors of nuclear bombing in 1945 and the Shoah. Clearly, someone with great experience in teaching these lessons had a strong hand behind the writing and final editing of this documentary.

THE BASIC STORY: A real-life Japanese schoolteacher, who appears throughout the film, sparked this entire story by gathering artifacts for a Holocaust educational center she was developing along with a group of girls and boys called The Small Wings. After applying to receive Holocaust artifacts, a large box arrives with a handful of artifacts, including a battered brown suitcase labeled with Hana Brady's name. The teacher and her students begin searching for the story behind the suitcase. What they discover will surprise you. They wind up unlocking--and showing us in the film--a whole series of deeply moving memories and other related artifacts and photos. Finally, Hana's surviving brother George travels to Japan to meet the Japanese students. Eventually, books about Hana--and now this documentary--circle the world to help children learn the real cost of unchecked horrors against humanity like the Shoah.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Didn"t Disappoint. Aug. 2 2012
By gayle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A very interesting and revelatory video. The story is well told and entertaining and thought provoking. Just long enough to keep you interested. I would reccomend it for adults and older children alike.
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving true life story April 10 2014
By Kenneth Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Saw this movie at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Glad it's available now for U.S. viewers. Powerful true story.
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story March 22 2014
By Jennifer Kahlenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm a 5th grade teacher and absolutely love using this book in my classroom. We read Number the Stars as a class and I use this particular book in a reading group that needs to be challenged. This year we ordered the dvd and the entire grade watched it (we all read Number the Stars, but only a small group of kids read Hana's Suitcase). So the movie brought everyone together to learn about this incredible story.

In 5th grade, we are careful to limit our Holocaust materials to those that do not show graphic images. We feel the kids are not ready yet, and we know they learn about it more in depth in 7th and 8th grades in our district. This book and movie met our criteria for focusing on an individual's experience without providing disturbing visuals.

Just like the book, the dvd is so well done!!! Thank you to all who made it possible for George and Fumiko to share their stories.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching story about Holocaust victims. March 15 2014
By Janet L. Travaglio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie is a wonderful follow-up to the book Hana's Suitcase, it even gives more details about Hana and George's lives. I received the videos in less time than expected and fantastic condition.
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