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Judith Kerr

Sue Lawley's castaway is writer and illustrator Judith Kerr.

This week Sue's castaway is Judith Kerr - a writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for her charming Mog picture-books and for her careful rendering of the life of a Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany. Judith Kerr escaped with her family on the day the Nazis were elected. The following day, police turned up at the doorstep in a belated attempt to confiscate their passports. The Kerr family moved across Europe, trying to support themselves and escape from the nearing threat, until they eventually settled in England in 1936. The family stayed in London throughout the war; surviving the Blitz and in fear of invasion. Judith Kerr wrote an autobiographical trilogy about her experiences and the books - in particular When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - have been used ever since as a way of explaining to children the horrors of the Nazi threat. Today, they are set texts in many German schools.

She was always a keen painter but had never thought it could be a career; it was only when she had two children who enjoyed the tales she told that she decided to try her hand at picture books. Her first book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, was instantly successful when it was published in 1968 and has never been out of print. But it is probably her series of books about Mog the Cat that have won her most affection with children - over the past 30 years they have sold more than three million copies.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Kyrie - the Opening of Great Mass in C Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Book: A big, beautiful coffee table book of pictures by impressionists
Luxury: Pencils and thick paper to write and draw on

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 5 Mar 2004 09:00

Music Played

  • Joel Gray


    • Cabaret.
    • MCA.
  • Bud Flanagan & The Band of the Coldstream Guards

    Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler?

    • Avengers and Other Top 60s TV themes.
    • Sequel Records.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 7 in A major - 2nd movement

    Orchestra: La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulin

    • Symphonies No 1 & 7.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Ne'imah Singers

    Memorial Prayer Al Malei Rachamin

    • For the Inaugural Holocaust Memorial Day 2001.
  • Gustav Holst

    Mars (The Bringer of War) From The Planets – Suite, op.32

    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Conductor: Andrew Davis

    • The Planets/Egdon Heath.
    • Teldec.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Cat Duet

    Soloist: Elisabeth Soderstrom / Kerstin Meyer

    • Kodaly, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Purcell.
    • BIS.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Dance of the Knights (from Romeo and Juliet)

    Orchestra: The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden

    • Romeo and Juliet: The Complete Ballet.
    • Royal Opera House.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Mass No. 18 in C minor 'Great' - Kyrie

      Choir: Vienna State Opera Chorus Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

      • Mozart: Mass in C Minor.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Book Choice

    • A big, beautiful coffee table book of pictures by impressionists

  • Luxury Choice

    • Pencils and thick paper to write and draw on


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Judith Kerr


  • Sun 29 Feb 2004 11:15
  • Fri 5 Mar 2004 09:00

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