WASHINGTON — Jutta Levy, a Washington wholesale costume jeweler whose childhood diary of her family’s flight from Germany on the eve of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom became the basis of a children’s book written by her daughter, died Sept. 4 at her home in Rockville, Md. She was 86.

The cause was complications of lung cancer and renal failure, said her daughter Debbie Levy, author of “The Year of Goodbyes,” which was published in 2010.

Jutta Lieselotte Salzberg was born in Hamburg, Germany, to parents who had emigrated from Poland. As Nazi persecution of Jews began accelerating in the fall of 1938, her father booked passage to the United States on the Queen Mary, sailing from Cherbourg, France.

The family needed to leave Hamburg by Nov. 7 to board the ship on time. This was the same day as the assassination by a Jewish student of an official of the German Embassy in Paris, the event that triggered the anti-Semitic Kristallnacht attacks a few days later.

The Salzbergs managed to catch the midnight train from Hamburg to Cologne. They subsequently learned from a housekeeper that police had come to their home looking for them six hours later.

They arrived in New York later that month and soon settled in Washington. Jutta graduated from Roosevelt High School in February 1945. All of their relatives who stayed behind died in the Holocaust.

She attended George Washington University, then worked about a dozen years in the family business, Edward Salzberg Jewelry. In the 1960s she was a saleswoman at Fredland’s Jewelers in Silver Spring. In the 1970s and 1980s, she was an agent with travel businesses in Washington, Silver Spring and Wheaton.

On Nov. 8, 1998, the 60th anniversary of her family’s pre Kristallnacht flight from Hamburg, Debbie Levy wrote an article in The Washington Post about their escape and her mother’s childhood as a Jew in Germany in the 1930s. It was based on Jutta Levy’s childhood diary, which her daughter had only recently discovered.

The article led to her book, which Kirkus Reviews called “an immensely powerful experience that needs to be read with an adult.”

The Washington Post article was read by two of Jutta Levy’s classmates from the Jewish School for Girls in Hamburg, who also had survived the Holocaust. They had not known they had a classmate nearby. They managed to contact other former students at the Hamburg School and seven of them got together for a 2000 reunion, which for most was their first get-together in 62 years.

Levy was a volunteer patient advocate in the Holy Cross Hospital emergency room. She had done fundraising for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Her husband, Harold Levy, whom she married in 1952, died in 2003. Survivors include two daughters, Debbie Levy of Potomac, Md. and Sharon Ricucci of Sterling, Va.; and two grandchildren.

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