Displacement, Trauma, and Identity in Judith Kerr’s
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Displacement, Trauma, and Identity in Judith Kerr’s "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit"
Displacement, Trauma, and Identity in Judith Kerr’s "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit"

Author(s): Marco Canani
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Editura Alma Mater
Keywords: children’s literature; literature of war; Judith Kerr; representation of trauma; Shoah

Summary/Abstract: Theodor Adorno’s statement that to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric exemplifies the artists’ loss for representational paradigms after the horrors of World War II. This issue is especially relevant when it comes to children’s literature, and much scholarship has discussed whether conflicts and genocides should be suitable topics for the younger addressees. Published in 1971, Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is an interesting case. In this article I argue that Kerr’s book is a semi-autobiographical story which raises interesting considerations concerning representation, memory, language and discourse. I explain how, by telling the story of a nine-year old asylum-seeker, Kerr’s novel reveals a dual tension between the need for those who survived the Shoah to elaborate trauma, and the role of testimonial literature in counterbalancing the risks of narratives of denial. I also suggest that, by portraying such events from a child’s perspective, the novel focuses on the way refugee children attempt at defining their own identity once they leave their homeland and must settle in a host country.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 19
  • Page Range: 32-44
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English