Puffin Signs Jeremy Dronfield & David Ziggy Greene For ‘Fritz And Kurtz’

by Richard Bruton

Puffin Books announced last week that they had secured the rights to Fritz and Kurtz, written by Jeremy Dronfield and illustrated by comic artist and illustrator David Ziggy Greene, a retelling of the true story The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz for middle-grade readers.

Some of David Ziggy Greene’s illustrations for the forthcoming Fritz and Kurtz

Okay, it’s not comics, but it’s definitely comics-related, as David Ziggy Greene is a damn fine British comics artist and illustrator responsible for Scene & Heard, a reportage series that ran in Private Eye from 2011 to 2020 and whose book Walkies is coming out from Bog Eyed Books in April.

The new book, Fritz and Kurtz, to be published in January 2023, is a new children’s version of Dronfield’s international bestseller The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz. In both Fritz and Kurtz and The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz, Dronfield tells the story of Gustav Kleinmann through the latter’s secret concentration camp diary. It’s a powerful account of the tragic and heartbreaking experiences of two brothers during the Holocaust.

The synopsis reads:

In 1938, Hitler’s Nazis come to Vienna. Fritz and his little brother Kurt wonder what will happen. The Nazis hate everyone who isn’t like themselves, especially Jewish people. Fritz and his father are taken to a Nazi concentration camp – a prison of death and fear. But when his father is sent to Auschwitz, the most evil, deadly place on earth, Fritz can’t face losing his beloved Papa. He chooses to go with him. Meanwhile, to be safe from the Nazis, Kurt must go on a frightening journey, all alone, to the far side of the world. These two brothers long for the family they left behind, wondering if they’ll ever be able to return home…”

And for a book such as this, David Ziggy Greene is a perfect match to the text, an illustrator whose long been producing work documenting society and doing it with sensitivity and empathy. Knowing his work the way I do, I imagine his informed and illuminative artwork will add so much to Fritz and Kurtz.

“I can’t describe how thrilled I am to have had the opportunity to create this all-new, illustrated retelling of this incredible story. Ever since The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz was first published, I’ve had readers tell me how deeply affected they’ve been by the story of Fritz and Kurt, and that they want their children to be able to read it. When I first saw David Ziggy Greene’s cartoon work, I knew I’d discovered the key to making a children’s version a reality. It was important to me that this must be a completely new telling of the story, not just a simplified edition. I revisited my original research, uncovering new information and fresh insights, explaining things that had been mysterious before, and truly unlocking the experiences of two boys sent along such different, traumatic courses.” – Jeremy Dronfield


Dippy – from Scene & Heard by David Ziggy Greene

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