When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (small)I have a fascination with anything set around World War II and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr continues that theme for me.  Published in 1971, it is a semi-autobiographical novel of nine-year-old Anna and her family.  Set just as Hitler comes to power in 1933, Anna’s father has campaigned against the Nazi party and the family flees from their home country of Germany to Switzerland, then Paris, then England.

Although their lives are now less at risk then if they had stayed in Germany, with each move comes its own set of challenges.  Anna just wants to make friends and attend school.  Learning each new language is difficult and adjusting to living with less and less isn’t easy.   What Anna and her brother learn is it doesn’t matter where you live, what really matters is being together as a family.

“Difficult childhood . . . ” she thought.  The past and the present slid apart.  She remembered the long, weary journey from Berlin with Mama, how it had rained, and how she had read Gunther’s book and wished for a difficult childhood to that she might one day become famous.  Had her wish then come true?  Could her life since she had left Germany really be described as a difficult childhood?

She thought of the flat in Paris and the Gasthof Zwirn.  No, it was absurd. Some things had been difficult,  but it had always been interesting and often funny – and she and Man and Mama and Papa had nearly always been together. As long as they were together she could never have a difficult childhood.

An excellent novel on the refugee experience for a child and one to introduce young children to the concept of war and it’s effects on families.

Links of interest: more book blogger reviews.
Genre: Historical middle grade fiction, approx ages 9-12.
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile.  Reprint November 10, 1997.  Originally published 1971.
Paperback, 191 pages. ISBN 0698115899
Source copy: Library
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.

8 comments


  1. As I read your wonderful review, I felt rather sad that we need to introduce children to the concept of war.

    on April 14th, 2010 at 7:52 am
  2. Wow–I’ve never heard of this before, but now I’m wondering why. It sounds so good–and I love that arresting cover.

    Great review!

    on April 14th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
  3. I remember this book, but I’ve never read it. I always thought, what an intriguing title. The odd juxtaposition of someone evil like Hitler and something sweet and innocent like a pink toy rabbit.

    on April 16th, 2010 at 8:52 am
  4. I’m going to have to read this one. It sounds great, and you know I have a weakness for WWII books myself. ;)

    on April 19th, 2010 at 10:56 am
  5. I added your link to the Book Reviews: WWII page on War Through the Generations.

    on May 7th, 2010 at 8:03 pm
  6. [...] ups and downs of living a childhood in different countries as a refugee from Nazi Germany (this is a better review). I will probably see it very differently now I am living in Germany and because I also grew up [...]

    on January 20th, 2011 at 1:51 pm
  7. this book was dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    on March 3rd, 2011 at 7:59 pm
  8. im only in fifth grade, but i really need to read some kind of auto-biography or biography. my mom told me about this book and ive always been interested in hitler, because of my teenaged brother. i think i finallly found my book. i red summaries on it and it seem so good.

    on March 26th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

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