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Holocaust Survivors in Canada
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Hana and George Brady
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Hana and George Brady
Hana Brady and her brother George Brady, just before the war.

Hana was born in Nove Mesto, a small town in Czechoslovakia, in May 16th 1931. Her brother George was born February 9th 1928. They had a happy childhood, but everything changed when Hitler invaded the country in 1939. As the only Jewish family in the town, the Bradys felt the impact of the many anti-Jewish laws. The family was devastated in 1941 when Hana and George’s mother was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Ravensbrück. In September the same year, their father too was taken. He was deported to Auschwitz and died July 14th 1942. Both children were sent to live with a Catholic uncle. In April 1942, they received a call-up order and were deported to Terezin (Theresienstadt). For two years they managed to stay in contact with each other there, but in September 1944 George was deported on the first convoy out of Terezin to Auschwitz. He was assigned to work and survived. Hana was deported on the second convoy, on October 23th 1944. She was gassed shortly after arrival at Auschwitz. Towards the end of the war, the Germans tried to hide traces of their crimes and prisoners from the concentration camps were forced on so-called death marches. It was during one of these marches in January 1945 that George Brady, aged 17, managed to escape.

To Canada

George returned to Nove Mesto after the war, hoping to find his family, but he soon realised he was the sole survivor. He went back to live with his uncle and aunt, finished his schooling and graduated in 1949. He then escaped from communist Czechoslovakia to Austria where he lived until he left for Canada in 1951. He moved to Toronto, where he set up a prosperous plumbing company (a skill he had learned in Terezin). In 2012 he was still living in Toronto.

Researching the Past

Hana and George’s story might never have been told, except for the efforts of a Japanese woman, Fumiko Ishioka, who helped set up an educational centre about the Holocaust which received objects on loan from the Auschwitz museum. When she was sent an old brown suitcase with a name written on it, she wanted to know about the young girl, Hana Brady, to whom the case had belonged. While trying to learn more about Hana, she discovered Hana’s brother and realised he had survived the war and was living in Canada. Fumiko’s research has been published as an educational book for children (Hana's Suitcase, Flammarion, 2002) to explain about the Holocaust and the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism.
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This day in history
Today: 10 December 2018
Then: 10 December 1948

The 51 member states of the United Nations sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.