When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

 When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit cover

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr was first published in 1971 but it was only when I was watching the BBC’s Imagine programme which featured Judith Kerr that I thought it was about time I got around to reading it. She’s probably better known as the author of the children’s books The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Mogg books. I had it in my mind that this book was an account of Judith Kerr’s experiences as a child in Germany in the 1930s – which it is – but I just didn’t realise that it is written from a child’s perspective with Judith being able to recount how she felt as everything in her comfortable life in Berlin changed due to Hitler’s increasing persecution of the Jews. Although it’s autobiographical Judith changed the girl’s name to Anna. In some ways her family was much luckier than most as her father Alfred Kerr had a high profile job as a journalist, he was a theatre reviewer for a Berlin newspaper and was hated by Hitler so he knew that he had to get out of Germany sooner rather than later and didn’t leave it until it was too late as so many did.

A telephone tip off from a friendly policeman telling Alfred that his passport is about to be seized means that Alfred has to leave his wife, Anna and son Max and make his way to Switzerland as soon as possible. He’s gone by the morning and it isn’t long before the family joins him. It’s a frightening time for them all and even in Switzerland they aren’t safe as Nazis holiday there. As the blurb on the back says: This is the start of a huge adventure, sometimes frightening, very often funny, and always, always exciting.

This was a great read and there are two more books in this autobiographical series:
Bombs On Aunt Dainty and
A Small Person Far Away.

I’ve just requested Bombs On Aunt Dainty from the library, so much for me not borrowing any more books!

You can watch the Imagine documentary below.

8 thoughts on “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

  1. Oh Wowee!
    I loved and loved and reread When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit a number of times. In the U.S., it was published in the late 1960s as a Dell Yearling paperback (only the best children’s chapter books became Dell Yearling paperbacks.) I read it while my mother was getting her master’s degree in library science. She took a class in Children’s Literature, and it was on her reading list. We both loved it. And about five years later when I was teaching sixth grade, I kept several copies of the books on hand for students.
    So many, many children’s and YA books have been published regarding WWII and the Holocaust since then that I don’t know what my impression would be of it now, but it was and still is a good story.

    • Judith,
      I’m looking forward to reading the other two books that she wrote about her wartime experiences. She had such clear memories of what it was like for her as a child. Apparently when her own children saw the film – The Sound of Music (which she hated) they said to her that now they understood what her life in Germany had been like – that didn’t go down well with her.

      • I can certainly see why it didn’t go down well for Kerr. I saw the film for the first time right after it came out in 1965, when I was twelve. I thought it was brilliant and so stirring at the time. I was so young and uninformed that it awakened me to issues in WWII. But my mother and her sisters thought it was fluff (the movie, not the musical), and were disappointed, despite the jaw-dropping photography. Saccharine, I think they said. And the film omitted two major songs from the Broadway musical that dealt with the political situation Austria was in. They were really disappointed about that.
        Interestingly enough, Christopher Plummer who played Captain Von Trapp (Major) whatever, later called the film “The Sound of Mucous.” I thought that was outragingly funny when I heard him it when I was in my twenties. Older folks I knew said that his comments were so unprofessional. (By the way, Plummer is still appearing in films–he is ancient! We just saw him playing Kaiser Wilhelm II in a WWII film. Amazing. And Michael Caine at age 85 is doing the same.)

        • Judith,
          I saw the film too, with my mum and dad, I would have been about ten and I loved it, we even had an LP of the songs from it! We saw something fairly recently with a very elderly Plummer in it. Michael Caine seems to have improved acting wise as he has aged, he was pretty bad when he was younger. I saw Robert Redford in a film while I was flicking the TV channels the other night – all I can say is – at least he hasn’t been ‘pulled’.

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