Vera Kunina was born as Vera Tilman in 1920 in the town of Konotop, northern Ukraine.
In June 1941 Operation Barbarossa began, and in August 1941, when the German army approached their area, the family decided to flee. However, only Vera, her younger sister Sara, and their mother Basia succeeded in escaping, Vera's brother Mikhail remained, awaiting a mobilization order from the local recruitment office and, thus, was caught by the German occupation. He was denounced as a Jew by a neighbor and shot during a mass murder operation in the town.
In September 1941, the three surviving family members arrived in Saransk, east of Moscow, where Sara and Basia began to work at a military factory, and Vera – at a local military hospital as an orderly. The leading physicians of the hospital noted her conscientious attitude toward her work and sent Vera to a course for nurses. Vera studied at the course while continuing to work as an orderly. When there were many wounded, she also donated blood.
In 1943 Vera felt that working at a hospital in the homefront was not sufficient, so she volunteered for front-line service. In November 1943 she was mobilized and, in 1944, assigned to a frontline hospital in Poland as a nurse in a surgical department. Vera noted that there were many Jews working at hospital #1067. She treated hundreds of wounded, many of whom were amputees. She was awarded the medal For the Victory over Fascist Germany and, after the war, the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd Class.
After the war, in 1947, Vera was released from army service. During the following years she worked as a nurse in various children's institutions.
In 1998 Vera Kunina immigrated to Israel.