Saved by Music…Alice Herz Sommer..a testament to the human spirit
This month I will be hosting a luncheon and the theme is music. Music is definitely a “speaker to the soul”. It reminded me of a previous blog, that you may have missed, concerning Alice Herz Sommer. She gives her views on optimism rather than hate; the great composers; and laughter. She is truly a testament to the human spirit. I felt it was worth remembering again.
What was so special about Alice was not only that she was a gifted musician, but that she used the talents that she had to save her own life and possibly lives of others during World War II. Living to be an inspiration to all for many years, Alice’s story is a repeat for this Sunday morning.
While in a concentration camp, Alice was ordered to play. However, she knew that if she did not please those who heard, she and her young son would die as so many other thousands had done, including her mother. She had already been ordered to leave her mother, who was sick, with the Nazi keepers. It was certain that she would never see her again as the elderly and sick were sorted out for the gas chambers. She said it was “the lowest point of her life”.
A woman of optimism and the ability to laugh also helped her through those terrible ordeals. Who would have ever believed that Alice Herz-Sommer would live to be 110. Before her death, she was considered the oldest Holocaust survivor. She found her way to Israel after the war was over and then back to England, where her son also became a musician.
During her imprisonment in Czechoslovakia, she began to study Chopin’s Etudes, which include 27 solo pieces. The music was the thing that gave her joy.
See Video below: