Alice: Music Saved My Life

Published by Sean on 21 May 2010
Filed Under: Biography

Alice Herz-SommerAlice Herz-Sommer, a pianist, is the world’s oldest Holocaust Survivor

Alice Herz-Sommer appears on our website because she is the most inspiring artist I know. Alice, who celebrated her 107th birthday on November 26, 2010, is the world’s oldest living Survivor of the Holocaust.

A pianist, Alice still practices three hours every morning and speaks five languages fluently. She lives alone in a studio apartment in London and studies philosophy. Full of good humor and compassion, Alice laughs easily. Before the war she was a successful concert pianist who lived with her violinist husband and small son in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Because they were Jewish, the Nazis deported them to a concentration camp, Theresienstadt. Despite the cold, hunger and ever present terror, Alice played more than 100 concerts for her fellow prisoners providing them with memories of home and family.

Alice’s husband and mother were soon transported to Auschwitz where they perished. After liberation by the Soviet Army, Alice and her son, Rafael, immigrated to Israel where she taught piano at the Rubin Academy for many years. Rafi became a famous cellist who made his home in London. After Alice retired from teaching at 92, she moved to London to be near him. But fate was unkind and Rafi, her only child, died when she was 96.

Alice Herz-SommerStill despite all of the tragedy, Alice remains infinitely optimistic and curious about the world as she continues to strive for perfection, the mark of the true artist.

“Music saved my life,” Alice repeats frequently. Please take the time to meet Alice on our video. You will not forget her.