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Oldest Holocaust survivor dies at the age of 110

By Syra Sharif     Feb 23, 2014 in Lifestyle
Alice-Herz Sommer, a holocaust survivor, died Sunday in London. Herz-Sommer took great pride in her music, saying “my world is music” in a short film about her which has been nominated for best short documentary at next week’s Academy Awards.
The film captures the spirit of a woman who lived for the music.
Herz-Sommer, who was an accomplished pianist, was sent from Prague in 1943 with her husband and son to a concentration camp in the Czech city of Terezin. Despite her situation, Herz-Sommer said she remembered herself as laughing, as the joy of music kept her and her family going, according to a report by the Associated Press via CTV News. In later years, she could be found laughing and was known as the world’s oldest pianist.
As CNN reports, she was originally from Czechoslovakia and was imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in World War II. Along with others, Herz-Sommer performed music to entertain the Nazis.
The love for music started at a young age for Herz-Sommer, whose mother was a playmate of composer Gustave Mahler. In addition, she often played with German novelist Franz Kafka as a child when he came to her house. The AP reports that Herz-Sommer was born on Nov. 26, 1903 in Prague and learned to play the piano at age 5 from her sister. She grew up in a very loving family and when she was sent to the concentration camps, she made the best out of a dire situation.
Her son notes that his mother “managed to protect him from the worst realities of life at the mercy of the Nazis.”
The film, The Lady in Number Six, tells the story of Alice-Herz Sommers. The filmmaker, Malcolm Clarke, put out a short statement on Facebook, saying he was proud to have been given the chance to tell her story.
Telling Alice's story was a life changing experience for everyone who worked on the film. Even as her energy slowly diminished, her bright sprit never faltered. Her life force was so strong we could never imagine her not being around. We are so proud to been so fortunate to capture Alice's lessons for all the generations to come.
Film crew via Facebook
Her son, who later made a career as a concert cellist died in 2001.
An optimistic thinker, Herz-Sommer was once quoted as saying “every day is beautiful—if only we look up from our reality.” Certainly, we can all take some advice from this brave and resilient thinker.
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