Sustenance in Time of Fear and Want
A Memoir of Belgrade 1941-1945
Listen to the Author
…..28 black and white photographs
Contact the Author
Mira Crouch may be contacted by clicking here.
The Nazi racial policy in occupied Serbia exempted young Mira from persecution, but seven people dear to her were murdered by March 1942. Against a backdrop of death, it is the ordinary, everyday existence that is depicted in this book: getting through, somehow, the days, weeks and months; and when loved ones are no more, for those left behind, the business of enduring life, for four long years.
Food was the main preoccupation. How to obtain it and what to do with it were pressing and ever-present questions for the extended family that surrounded Mira during the WWII years. An overwhelming concern with provisioning is reflected in many a page vividly describing the inventive ways of putting precious supplies to best use. But sustenance is more than food. Complex human relations constitute the core of this memoir. The effects of wartime conditions (danger from both enemy and friendly fire, grief and mourning, constant uncertainty) on personalities and their doings are explored through the eyes of a needy and vigilant child. The author’s memories are recounted with insight, humility and humour. Gently but firmly, the reader’s imagination is led toward compassion for vulnerability and respect for resilience under duress.
List of Main Characters
Prologue: A Brief Chronology
Part One: Misery
An Easter Feast
One Chicken, Three Meals
A Stolen Egg
Part Two: Endurance
Cabbage, Sweet and Sour
Moussaka and Such Like
Corn and Christmas
Part Three: 1944
A Funeral Feast
Mira Crouch lives in Sydney, New South Wales, and is a Visiting Fellow at the School of Social Science and International Studies, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Comments on War Fare:
I loved this book. It is a moving personal story of a childhood in wartime Belgrade and a colourful evocation of family life – but it is also an invaluable historical document of war, loss and emigration. A fascinating read. Vesna Goldsworthy, author of the international bestseller Chernobyl Strawberries.
War Fare is an autobiographical masterpiece. Beautifully written, it brings together history and memory by reconstructing vignettes from her childhood journey, a childhood spent in a Serbian-Jewish family under Nazi rule in war torn Belgrade. Those episodes recalled and the images portrayed make Mira’s memoir a most rewarding read. Konrad Kwiet, Adjunct Professor for Jewish studies, The University of Sydney.
Mira … tells a story of upheaval and death with simple grace…What gradually emerges is a compelling portrait of a family through the occupation. – From Steven Carroll’s book review in ‘The Age’ (Melbourne).
Crouch’s sensitivity and luminescence evoke more than just the torture of a family; for here we see, in the midst of the rape of her beloved country, an attempt for normality, a desperate clinging to family life and traditions. From Alan Gould’s review in ‘Good Reading’ (Australian monthly book review magazine).
All of humanity stands to benefit very considerably from a pensive reading of this detail laden, and insightful, memoir. Leo Uzych in Metapsychology online reviews
War Fare is a remarkable memoir. It is marvelously well written, with great insight, control and restraint. Michael Allen (‘Grumpy Old Bookman’) for Scribd.