August 25, 2020
Film Screening: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
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.
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.
In Case You Missed It
Sunday, Aug. 30th, 2pm
This is an online event.
RSVPs are enabled for this event.
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:
Chrissy Stanford, Research Assistant