Vera Gran: The Accused

TitleVera Gran: The Accused
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsTuszynska, Agata
Number of Pages305
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
CityNew York

Vera Gran (1916–2007) was a star cabaret singer who chose to live in the Warsaw Ghetto after Germany invaded Poland. There she continued her career, escaping before the ghetto’s destruction, in 1943. Whether she collaborated with the Nazis or, conversely, organized and raised money for shelters for starving ghetto orphans became matters of controversy that she felt hindered her postwar career in Paris, where she was favorably compared to Piaf, and pushed her into reclusiveness and near madness in her last decades. Her erstwhile accompanist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, was her principal accuser. She in turn accused him. No charges against her were ever proven. Tuszynska says this book isn’t one. Based on Gran’s words to her, it’s more an oral history, in which Gran is disputed and supported by other ghetto survivors and put in perspective by Tuszynska’s evaluations of her candor. Though it doesn’t conclusively exculpate Gran, the book powerfully communicates how living in fear disables factual as well as moral judgment

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