Ackerman Chronicle

August 25, 2020

Film Screening: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

The Ackerman Center sponsored a virtual screening event of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit as part of the 2020 Dallas Jewish Film Festival. On August 20th, viewers were invited to participate in a live-streamed discussion about the film with Dr. Nils Roemer, Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor in Holocaust Studies and the Director of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies.

From novel to Feature Film

Based on Judith Kerr’s 1971 memoir When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, the film depicts Kerr’s experiences as a German-Jewish child growing up during the Holocaust. Both the novel and its screen adaptation present the story from a unique perspective as seen through the eyes of 9-year-old Anna, the youngest child of the Kemper family who narrates the events and circumstances surrounding the family’s flight from Berlin in 1933.

Dr. Nils Roemer 's Live Talk Back

Dr. Roemer engaged participants in a lively discussion about particular thematic elements of the film and how they fit into the historical period in which the story takes place. Professor Roemer emphasized the significance of chronology as an important factor to consider in relation to the history of the Holocaust. Like many other German-Jewish families, the Kempers faced the difficult decision of whether to remain or leave Germany. When Anna’s father is told that he will soon be arrested for his outspoken criticism of Hitler and National Socialism, the family decides to flee Germany for Switzerland.

Exile and Loss

Dr. Roemer highlighted the theme of exile as another important feature that changes the lives of the Kemper family forever. Professor Roemer described the symbolic significance of Anna’s beloved stuffed pink rabbit that she was forced to leave behind when the family left the country. As a representation of the “wholeness” of her former life, the toy embodies the loss of stability, sense of safety and belonging and relates to larger issues surrounding the massive numbers of displaced persons such as herself, whose lives will never be the same. Anna’s childhood sense of security was shattered by the events of the war.


Concluding Remarks

Dr. Roemer concluded by emphasizing that the novel demonstrates the wide-ranging experiences of German Jews during the Holocaust. From an unusual vantage point, in which the perspective of the narrator as both a child and a German Jew, audiences are given the opportunity to engage in a narrative of survival that is different from the more traditional accounts told from an adult perspective of the past.


Learn more about the 2020 Jewish Virtual Film Festival

Visit the Jewish Community Center of Dallas's website for more information about the film festival

In Case You Missed It

In the most recent episode of the Ackerman Center Podcast, Dr. Roemer and Dr. Sarah Valente discuss the film. All episodes are available for streaming online and can be found by clicking here or on the image.
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Please join us as we honor Dr. Ozsváth on the eve of her retirement. Our beloved Zsuzsi will be retiring this year, and we couldn't let her go without a celebration.

Celebrating Zsuzsi

Sunday, Aug. 30th, 2pm

This is an online event.

The link for this virtual event will be posted on our event website: www.utdallas.edu/ackerman/events

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Please sign the e-card for Dr. Ozsvath

We have created this e-card for everyone to sign and pass along their well wishes.

The card can be accessed by clicking here.
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This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Register online by clicking here.
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This issue was made possible by the following contributors:

Cynthia Seton-Rogers, Academic and Outreach Events Manager
Chrissy Stanford, Research Assistant