‘My revenge on Hitler is a lifetime in which delight has reached me from a hundred sources, and been welcomed.’—Vera Wasowski
A story of courage, unconventionality and lust for life.
Vera Wasowski was just seven years old when German soldiers marched her family into the Lvov Jewish ghetto in Poland. She watched her father take his own life and her mother accede to sexual blackmail in order to ensure her and Vera’s survival. With unsparing honesty and the blackest humour, she recalls a world where the desire to survive was everything.
After the war, Vera studied journalism at Warsaw University, throwing herself into the bohemian scene. In 1958, she migrated to Australia with her husband and young son, to escape rising anti-Semitism. Here she would carve out an adventurous career as an ABC TV researcher and producer on pioneering programs such as This Day Tonight. It was a wild time for politics and the media, and Vera was at the centre of it all, mixing with the Hawkes in the 1980s, and forming a close friendship with artist Mirka Mora.
In Vera, acclaimed biographer Robert Hillman has captured the fierce and passionate life of an amazing Australian.
Shortlisted, 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Award
‘Vera was wild, exotic and utterly outrageous when I met her as a young journalist in Melbourne. When you’ve survived both Hitler and Stalin there’s not a lot to hold you back. She has a great story to tell.’ —Kerry O’Brien
‘Vera’s life is part tragedy, part farce but like the roast goose that she cooks so magnificently it is always succulent, rich and unforgettable.’ —Barrie Kosky
‘Wasowski is the grandmother we all wish we had. It’s a privilege to spend time with her.’ —Saturday Paper
‘It’s not just the distinctive voice that is impressive about this memoir, it’s the point of view … Better than the usual in this current memoir epidemic.’ —Spectrum
Robert Hillman’s memoir, The Boy in the Green Suit, won the Australian National Biography Award for 2004. His 2007 biography, My Life as a Traitor, written with Zarah Ghahramani, appeared in numerous overseas editions. His first collaboration with Najaf Mazari, The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif has been a set text in many schools. He is also the author of Gurrumul: His Life and Music and the novel Joyful.