The book is based on Judith's own experiences. The last-minute escape, village life in Switzerland, the family's refugee existence in Paris and their final arrival in England were all part of her childhood.
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Judith Kerr was born in Berlin of German Jewish parents. Her father, Alfred Kerr, a distinguished writer, fiercely attacked the Nazis long before they came to power and the family had to flee the country in 1933 when Judith was nine.