Judith Kerr opposed the longing for death of the National Socialists not only for a long, joyfully lived life, but also for her work as a writer and illustrator. The British press in particular put their children's success story about the “Tiger, who came to tea” in the focus of obituaries, because her work was long ago not only from their souvenir books, but covered a wide range of topics, styles and ideas.
In Germany, however, she was known and revered for the trilogy of her memories. In 1973, when her youth biography titled “When Hitler stole the pink rabbit” appeared in German by Annemarie Böll, the Nazi era was still in its infancy. The mass murder of European Jews did not have a name and was not known to many.
A majority considered the persecution of Jews to be an obscure event in the East, a war offense among many, of which the German Wehrmacht and the German population knew nothing. After reading the book that was simply not possible anymore, finally the family Kerr disappeared, the father was a prominent theater critic and publicist, right in the middle of Berlin.
Judith Kerr has managed to combine her unique literary ability and her memories in such a way that a Enlightenment century book was written. Like the diary of Anne Frank and “Mein Leben” by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, it is one of those masterpieces that convey not only the everyday life and spirit of the 1930s and 1940s and thus immunize against all right-wing temptation. Moreover, they also transcend times through their outstanding literary quality.
Enlightenment order with the means of literature
These are books that become part of your own life. Every reader, every one who saw the film, accompanied the unusual Kerr family on their flight through Europe. Here, the Nazi terror is not in the foreground. It is the curiosity, joie de vivre, and accuracy of observation that captivates the audience.
The political message becomes clear when the policy, which at that time was based on total demands and unchecked power, has to be placed in the background of the narrative. The subject, in this case a young girl, becomes the most important person of the century. Thus, Judith Kerr, who has now died, put things back into an enlightened order with the means of literature: Hitler is less important than a pink rabbit.