When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Essential Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Jun. 2017
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“A compassionate introduction to the whole subject of World War II” – Books for your Children
“An extremely exciting adventure story.” – Daily Express
“A charming and touching book, often very funny” – Daily Mail
“Exact, intelligent and unsentimental.” – Sunday Telegraph
“A beautifully written, moving and poignant story that is - and very much deserves to be - a timeless classic” Z J Cookson, TheBookbag
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Anna had been enjoying an upper-middle-class life in Berlin, and is an engaging, intelligent and artistically talented child. A policeman tips off her father that the family have to leave the country, and they manage to do so literally twenty four hours before the Nazis arrive at the house. For the next three years they are refugees ("Mummy, what's a refugee?"), wandering through Switzerland, then Paris, and finally to England. Money is very tight; they can no longer afford servants so Anna's mother has to learn how to cook and sew; Anna's father struggles to sell his writing and almost dies of shame when Anna is offered charity; and Anna has to go to a school where she is the only child who cannot speak French. Little snippets of what is happening in Germany arrive via visiting adults, but on the whole, Anna doesn't hear much about that. For most of the book she regards the whole experience as a glorious adventure, and her parents help her find the humour in life - for example, her father's mock complaint that Hitler is offering such a low reward for his capture.
If this was just a children's novel, it would be a classic. Because it is also true, it had quite an impact on my daughter, who kept wanting to know what happened next, and did the entire family survive? (I haven't read the next two books, so I don't know.) It is beautifully written; it focuses very much on what a child wants to know (there are plenty of descriptions of cakes and drawing supplies and the subjects Anna studied at school), and every chapter finishes on a little note of tension, making it an exciting story in its own right. Reading age 8+ years.
It is during their time in Switzerland that Anna becomes aware of the dangers she has left. She has to learn a new language and learn to fit into a new society and community without making it known she is Jewish. As seen in the above quote there is the stereotypical view of Jewish people and the view which has been influenced through propaganda and the media. Anna's friend Elsbeth does not believe she is Jewish because "she doesn't have a bent nose". It is this that I struggle to comprehend when it comes to this part of history. I can understand how people who are young and impressionable and those who were scared could share the opinion that Jewish people were evil but that leaves a large proportion of the country who were convinced that Jewish people were to play for the demise of Germany.
I found the book easy to read and that with Judith not referring to herself it was easier to read as it distanced my feelings from Judith. For her to write a book depicting the persecution her family were subjected to and for her to be able to write it with such grace and conviction when the story is about herself this is something she should be very proud of that.
I would definitely recommend reading this book to other people and I look forward to reading the other books in the series Bombs on Aunt Dainty and A Small Person Far Away which I am sure I will in time. I really look forward to finding out what happens in the rest of Judith's/Anna's life.
10-Word-Review: An insightful look into the life of a war-torn child.
Top international reviews
For the kids the challenges are learning new customs and languages, and making new friends; but they are aware that their parents have money concerns for the first time in their comfortable lives. Anna learns what it means to be reviled by Nazis although she remains sheltered from the knowledge of war atrocities and genocide.
Particularly for a family living abroad, for schoolchildren with classmates from other cultures, and Americans uncertain of what Trump rule may mean for their futures, this book is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate what freedom means, the luxury of having a home and an intact family, and what it's like to flee and persevere.
The book is a partly autobiographical story about 10-year-old Anna and her family who flee Germany, just before Hitler comes to power, as they are Jewish. Anna’s father is a famous writer who is also quite vocal in his views against the Nazis and he appears on a wanted list in the government soon after he flees. With this axe looming over their heads, the family tries to adapt to a normal life as best as they can.
This was the first time I was reading a story about a family on the other side... the refugees … and from a child’s perspective no less! While the difficulties they face are probably nothing in comparison to those that families who stayed behind faced, the author beautifully brings to light how unsettling it is for Anna and her brother when they have to suddenly leave their home, school, friends, family members and toys behind. The innocence of children is very beautifully depicted by a simple statement like “Now Hitler will play with the Pink Rabbit” as they fail to grasp the need of the Nazi regime confiscating their belongings. Why else would Hitler go through the unnecessary task of taking their toys except to play with them.
Throughout the story Anna shows the reader the difficulties they go through as they move from country to country. The different people, schools and languages they must adjust to. How changes in financial status can lead to so many choices being cut down. This is a child’s perspective of historical events. They are spared from knowing the gory details, but you can see how personal it still is.
At the end of the book the author has a note where you see how she and her family went through a similar experience and it becomes so real. I would urge parents to make their kids read this book… not only as a light introduction to the Nazi regime and its effects, but a way to show them how people deal with change and difficulties. It might be a children’s book… probably for the age of 9 and above but it will appeal to adults as well… a light read on a heavy topic.
Aber im ganzen ein tolles Buch und rückwirkend vielleicht nicht so schön die Zeit, aber fesselt einen bisschen ^^
- for children and adults to read, especially now that there are so many people all over the world fleeing for survival!