Alice Herz-Sommer is 109 years old, and she is the world’s oldest survivor of Hitler’s Holocaust and a concert pianist.
Alice is a very special person. She lives alone in a tiny flat in central London, where she spends hours each day practicing Bach and Beethoven on her piano.
You see, before World War 2, she was a famous and celebrated concert pianist performing throughout Europe. Then Hitler declared war on the world, and all of Europe was plunged into many years of unspeakable pain and misery, and Alice’s concert career as a pianist came to a screeching halt.
During those years of war, Alice experienced and saw atrocities that no human being should have to endure. Both her mother and her husband were deported to Auschwitz and gassed to death.
Alice and her six-year-old son, Raphael, were imprisoned in Theresienstadt concentration camp where her most painful memories are of her helplessness and inability to feed her child or to answer his many questions about why they and so many others were being subjected to the indescribable nightmare of the Holocaust.
Despite her dire circumstances, Alice found a way to look beyond the horrors of day-to-day life and tried to find joy and strength. She found joy, happiness and strength through her music. Music preserved her sanity and her life. She loves speaking of playing more than 100 concerts inside the concentration camp, because it brought hope to the countless prisoners.
Alice chooses to forgive her jailers, despite all the crimes they have committed. She feels that she has seen enough hatred, and she knows that hate destroys the soul. Instead she chooses to laugh, to be happy. To Alice life is beautiful.
Music has kept her mind sharp to this day. She keeps a busy schedule without the help of a secretary. She makes her own appointments, does her own cooking and shopping, takes two long daily walks and frequently talks with journalists, students, musicians and just about anyone else who understands and loves music.
Alice says:“I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times – including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful. Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.”
If you like to find Hope and Healing in your life through music, then contact me, and I will be glad to connect with you and support you in your journey.
Music Transforms You