March 02, 2014

Happy 107, Alice Herz-Sommer: Oldest surviving Holocaust survivor

Note: I first published this post November 14, 2010. On February 23, 2014, Alice Herz-Sommer died in London. She was 110 years old. Her memory is a blessing.

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, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.
Alice Herz-Sommer

During World War II, Czech-born Jewish classical pianist Alice Herz-Sommer performed for her Nazi Germans captors in the Theresienstadt (English, Terezin) Jewish ghetto.

"As long as they wanted music, they couldn't put us in the gas chambers."

Listen to and watch Alice Herz-Sommer (3 minutes).

“I have not spent one minute hating”
Herz-Sommer's spiritual cousin, American Mamie Till, uttered these words years after the bereaved mother forced the nation to look at the horror of racism in the racially motivated murder of her son Emmett Till (1941-1955), in the Mississippi Delta. She had demanded the U.S. federal authorities to return the 14-year-old's mutilated body to his hometown, Chicago, and placed in an open coffin on public view.

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