Pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer died Sunday at 110

By Alyssa Ladzinski,

Expert pianist and the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor died on Sunday in London. Alice Herz-Sommer was 110-years-old.

Two books were stimulated from her life experiences and one documentary, “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” was made about the pianist and is currently an academy award nominee according to Fox News.

Born on November 26, 1903 in Prague, Herz-Sommer’s began playing the piano at the young age of five. In 1931 she married Leopold Sommer and together they had a son, Stephan.

1943 brought a terrible fate for the family as they were sent to a concentration camp in Terezin. She often displayed her piano skills in concerts that the inmates were approved to perform. The music gave them a place to find happiness and solace in a time of desperation.

“As long as they wanted music, they couldn’t put us in the gas chamber. There’s a certain amount of logic in the Germans,” said Herz-Sommer in the documentary.

Nearly 140,000 Jews endured a terrible fate in Terezin and 33,430 died there. The Soviet Army liberated the camp in May of 1945, but her husband passed away in another camp from Typhus. Her mother on the other hand, was sent to an extermination camp as reported in NBC News

Until 1986, Herz-Sommer taught at the Jerusalem Conservatory until she moved to London.

She enjoyed her final days by expressing her passion through her fingertips and the works of Schubert and Beethoven on the piano.

Photo Courtesy of >Wikimedia Commons

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