When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr: sketches, notes and finished artwork


Anna’s happy life is turned upside down, as Hitler comes to power. She is forced to flee her Berlin home, her friends and beloved pink toy rabbit. Her family is in grave danger, but they get out just in time. If you had to leave your country in a hurry and you could pack one suitcase, what would you take with you?

Why did Judith Kerr write When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit?

This novel was inspired by real events in Judith Kerr’s childhood. She escaped Nazi Germany and became a refugee in 1933. Kerr wrote the book to tell her children her own remarkable story and to show them that, despite hardships, ‘I would not have missed it for the world’. Kerr’s story is sometimes frightening, but full of humour and hope.

Who was Judith Kerr?

Judith’s father, Alfred Kerr, was a famous Jewish writer who criticised the Nazis. He left Germany secretly overnight, narrowly avoiding arrest. Soon afterwards, nine-year-old Judith, her brother Michael, and mother Julia made the risky journey to Switzerland, then France, and finally England, over three years. This is the first of three books in a series called, Out of the Hitler Time. The others describe their lives as refugees in bomb-damaged London.

How do the sketches and artworks compare?

The author made her own delicate black and white pen drawings, and two different covers for the English and American editions.

Here you can see a selection of rough sketches and finished artworks. In places, Kerr writes notes to herself about possible improvements: ‘Not so much texture’, ‘no harmonica player?’ Some of the early sketches – including Hitler saluting – never made it into the finished book, printed in 1971.

First notes for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

You can also see the handwritten notes where Kerr plans out her first chapter. She describes Anna’s snowy walk home, happy with her new crayons. Anna is bored by the adults’ talk of the latest ‘Nazi outrages’, but her Mama and Papa are clearly worried sick.

Label by British Library Learning in partnership with Seven Stories.

Full title:
Complete suite of finished artwork for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, written and illustrated by Judith Kerrr and first published in 1971; Early, unused and preparatory sketches by Judith Kerr for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.
c. 1971
Original artwork / Sketch / Illustration / Image / Manuscript
Judith Kerr
Usage terms
© By Judith Kerr. Finished illustrations copyright © Kerr-Kneale Productions Ltd 1971. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
Held by
Seven Stories

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