Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (1971)

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Judith Kerr. 1971. Random House. 191 pages. [Source: Bought]

I enjoyed reading Judith Kerr's When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. The book is set in Germany, Switzerland, and France in the 1930s. The book opens several weeks before Hitler comes to power. Anna's father, a famous writer, decides to flee Germany before the election, just in case. A wise decision, it turns out. His family follows a week or two later, I believe. The family may have escaped immediate danger, but life won't exactly be easy either. He has to find a way to support his family--to continue to support his family no matter the economics or politics of Europe. The family first attempt to resettle in Switzerland, but, he's unable to find a paying audience for his work. That is, no one wants to publish his work. The family then moves to France to resettle. They spend more time in France than they did in Switzerland. But it's still a rough transition. The book is told through Anna's perspective. And the challenges are real. Learning new languages, going to new schools, general anxiety, etc.

The book has an unusual title. If you've read the book, it makes sense. The family leaves on relatively short notice. They can only take a few suitcases. They cannot take everything, of course. Anything they leave behind will most likely be taken or confiscated. Anna, for better or worse, chooses a new stuffed toy--a dog--over her favorite, beloved "pink rabbit." She hates the idea of it being gone forever and being confiscated or "stolen" by the Nazis.

The book does a good job of capturing what it might have been like to be Jewish in Europe in the 1930s. Though this one is set many years before World War II.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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