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Book Presentation: Felice Hardy’s The Tennis Champion Who Escaped the Nazis

The Austrian Cultural Forum is welcoming Felice Hardy in conversation with Tessa Szyszkowitz. The writer will take us on a fascinating journey exploring her grandmother’s story, an Austrian National Tennis champion who escaped and survived Nazi occupation.

In 1930, at the age of twenty-six, Liesl Herbst was the Austrian National Tennis Champion, a celebrity in Vienna. In 1939, Liesl, her husband David and their daughter Dorli came to Britain after escaping the Nazis. On arrival in London, she and her family had already been stripped of their Austrian citizenship and rendered stateless aliens. Nevertheless, both Liesl and her daughter Dorli competed at Wimbledon. They remain the only mother and daughter ever to have played doubles together at The Championships.

Illustrated throughout with family photographs and original documents, this is a story of survival against terrible odds, an inspiring tale of resilience and hope.

Felice Hardy is a journalist and author. As a travel writer, Felice has toured the world for a variety of publications including the Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and British Airways’ High Life magazine. She has written 18 travel guidebooks, and for 15 years she co-edited the website Welove2ski. Together with her husband, she produces and hosts the podcast Action Packed Travel.

Tessa Szyszkowitz is an Austrian journalist and author based in London. Her latest book was Echte Engländer – Britannien nach dem Brexit (2018, in German). She is a curator at Kreiskyforum in Vienna and a Senior Associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.


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