HANA CONNECTS THE WORLDMore About Me
After the war, George left Czechoslovakia because of the Communist takeover, eventually making his way to Canada on the refugee boat, Goya II on January 3rd, 1951. He made his way to Toronto where he had distant relatives. Two years later, George and Terezin survivor Joe Seidner met by pure coincidence in the aisle of a plumbing supply shop and together founded a successful plumbing business; Brady & Seidner Associates Ltd.
In 1968, after the Russians occupied Czechoslovakia, George helped dozens of Czech refugees find jobs and start new lives in Canada. In 1989, after the Velvet Revolution, George spearheaded a fundraiser to support a Czech democratic newspaper. Shortly thereafter, he became one of the founding members of the Canadian Czech Chamber of Commerce. George was also a supporter of the Canadian Opera, St Lawrence Theatre, Weizmann Institute of Science and Toronto Symphony Orchestra among many others.
George was determined to lead an active retirement and this was amplified by the arrival of Fumiko’s letter in 2000. A suitcase, which has found its way around the world, all the way to Japan where it is used to teach children about tolerance and respect for each other.
Blessed with 4 children (or as he would say, 3 kids and a girl) he pursued life with great vigour. World renowned for his tenacity and generosity, for George there were no problems, only challenges for which he would always find solutions. He helped hundreds of new and old Canadians find jobs, homes, and pursue their dreams.
Although the Brady family likes to joke that Fumiko’s biggest adventure started in 2000 when she wrote to George about Hana’s suitcase - she has led a remarkable life before us! After finishing an MA in Development Studies at Leeds University in England in 1995, Fumiko Ishioka worked briefly at a Japanese NGO for international cooperation when her life took a sharp turn. In 1997, Fumiko met a group of people who were starting a Holocaust Center and her interest in human rights issues and education led her to join them; The Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. Aimed at teaching young students tolerance, mutual respect, and compassion; Fumiko fit right in and took over as Executive director in 1998.
Through Fumiko’s tenacity and hard work, she managed to discover the story behind the owner of a plain old suitcase loaned to her by the Auschwitz Museum. Her quest led her to Canada and the surviving brother of Hana Brady, the owner of the suitcase. Fumiko’s work has spurred the imagination of millions of children around the world and she was granted an honorary PhD in Education by York University in Toronto. Fumiko now travels the world speaking to children and adults alike about the need to learn from our past and present, encouraging children to become active citizens in changing and shaping their future. She is a frequent guest lecturer, leads Europe based programs for Japanese teachers and students and in tandem with her work with Hana - runs programs about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara and the Jewish refugees escaping through Japan, and Germany’s Culture of Remembrance.
For information on the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center
“After everything I went through in my life, I swore that I would never turn my back on people. I’ve realized from personal experience, the worst is when injustice takes place, and the silent majority is the only one accounted for.”
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