Wednesday, October 19, 2016

When Curious George Made a Daring Escape From the Nazis

On May 10, 1940, Adolf Hitler sent three million troops through the Low Countries into France. Parisians fled by the hundreds of thousands before the Germans captured their city on June 14. Among them a young couple, German Jews who had been living in Paris for just four years.
 They had waited too long. There wasn’t a car or a bicycle left in the city. The husband bought every spare part he could find and built two bikes from scratch. At 5:30 on the morning of June 12, they rode out of Paris with a monkey hidden in the basket. Hans Reyersbach and his wife, Margarete Waldstein, were artists from Hamburg, but they had met in Rio de Janeiro. Hans had moved there in 1925 after serving in World War I. He sketched and painted, and sold plumbing fixtures up and down the Amazon. Margarete, a photographer, arrived a decade later. If Hans was dreamy and sweet, Margarete was ambitious and unsentimental. They were perfect for each other. They were married in Rio in 1935 and honeymooned in Paris and never got around to leaving—until they pedaled away with the manuscript and art for what would become one of the most popular children’s books of the 20th century.
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