Mirka O U R M OT H E R

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Exclusive Book Extract - ByPhilippeMo­raw­ith­Wil­liam Mo­raandTirielMora.

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’.

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