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February 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

RIP, Alice Herz-Sommer

Alice Herz-Sommer may not have set out to change minds, but her essence and love for the piano transcended time, politics and the horrors of Hitler’s concentration camps.

The world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor passed away over the weekend. What a life she lived. She won’t be remembered as a victim, but for her incredible sense of optimism.

“Every day in life is beautiful,” she would say. And she believed it, despite a life of profound suffering over the course of her 110 years, including the loss of her home in Prague, her parents and her husband after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.

I had not known about Herz-Sommer’s life story until Friday night, when I saw the Oscar-nominated documentary short film based on her life, “The Lady in Number 6.” Here’s a preview of this poignant meditation on survival, aging and music as salvation.


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