‘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 so 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?
This excerpt is from the book When Hitler stole the pink rabbit by Judith Kerr. It is the story of a 10-year-old girl Anna and her Jewish family who had to leave their home in Berlin secretly in 1933 in the wake of the Nazis coming to power. Anna’s father, a famous personality, is wanted by the Nazis – dead or alive because he is extremely vocal against them.
Anna’s family escapes from Germany to live in Zurich, Switzerland for a brief period before shifting to Paris, France where they lived for 2 Christmases and later they moved to Britain. Anna and her brother’s childhood goes through ups and downs during the time they live in Paris. They face trouble in school because everything is taught in French and everyone speaks only in French and they do not know the language. They face difficulties due to their family’s deteriorating financial condition. They lead an impoverished life in Paris whereas they were wealthy in Berlin.
The story, since it is told from Anna’s perspective, is not totally gloomy as it may appear from the above lines. It has its funny and light moments too in addition to being touching. It evokes the importance of being together as a family and being grateful for the blessings in life, howsoever, little they might seem.
Reading this book had a life-enhancing impact on me. Dhruv read it too and we had a considerable discussion on Anna and her family’s life.
I will strongly recommend this book.
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