Mirka O U R M OT H E R
One thing that continually irritated us was the press and people’s reactions to our mother’s public high jinks. Children are normally embarrassed by their parents, but Mirka added a new level of sometimes risqué farce. In retrospect it was her comment on and send-up of 1950s Melbourne. My brothers and I grew up in what turned out to be an incredible Australian petri dish of artists, actors, musicians, political figures, writers, celebrities and nobodies. Our parents’ intimate friends became Australian cultural icons.
The central thing to understand is that the Holocaust was the formative experience of their lives. They never burdened us with it, rarely if ever mentioning it for years. Their way of dealing with it was an exemplary joie de vivre celebrating their survival by emphasising art, food and love. We were the kids who knew too much about food, art and sex. Baillieu Myer famously said our father ‘made Melbourne a city’.