"… Life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful.
Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love."
On occasion I blog about someone who inspires me and today before I settle down to work, I just wanted to take time to reflect on a very inspiring woman. We do often need reminding about the things that really matter in ones life. These things that matter are not our homes, our belongings, or even our careers, but how we perceive the world we are in, as this in turn will effect they way we are outwardly to the world. We all need to be able to appreciate the good things in life. Beauty and Happiness.
The news that Alice Hertz-Sommer, the oldest known pianist, had passed away this weekend, was sad news. Apart from being the oldest pianist in the world, she was also the oldest known survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. She died aged of 110 and her life story is quite remarkable and yet she remained happy and active until her last days. Born into a Jewish family in Prague in 1903, Alice spent two years in a Nazi concentration camp in Terezin. She was sent there at the age of 39 with her son. Alice was an accomplished pianist, so she ended up performing in more than 100 concerts whilst in the concentration camp. Whilst there she devoted herself to the physical and emotional protection of her son. She and her son both survived the camp.
As an adult, her son, Raffi, recalled remarkably few dark memories of the camp, saying that his mother somehow managed to protect him from the worst realities of life at the mercy of the Nazis. He once wrote that his mother managed to create a Garden of Eden for him in the midst of that hell. After the concentration camp, Alice had to completely rebuild a new life for her and her son. She went onto to become a concert pianist and teacher, and did not retire from teaching until the age of 100. At this point she moved to England to be nearer her son and family, but he sadly passed away around the same time. She then spent the next ten years living alone in a flat in central London. She was lovingly known as the lady in number 6 (to people living near her). This was due to the fact that would spent hours each day playing the piano, practicing her beloved Bach and Beethoven.
At the grand old age of 109, she claimed,
"I am full of joy. I seem to be the only person laughing. Nobody laughs any more."
Alice had lost her mother and husband to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. When she got out of the concentration camp she had nothing. Strangers were living in her home and she had to rebuild a whole new life for her and her son. Her son died when she was 100 and for the past ten years she has lived alone. She remained happy and took such pleasure in life, and she continued to play the piano. As she says in the video:
"Every day is beautiful. Even the bad is beautiful"
We should all think about her words and feel blessed for everything we have. We should also try to love more, laugh more and see the beauty in everything and everyone.
One her Alice's favourite quotes:
"Music brings us to an island with peace, beauty and love."
Watch this lovely video (below) about Alice made last year in 2013 when she was 109. Please take the time to watch and respect a very remarkable woman.
To buy the video The Lady in Number 6, click HERE.
To buy the book of her life A Garden of Eden in Hell, click HERE.
Rest in peace Alice
Alice Hertz-Sommer: 1903 - 2014
For more about Alice's remarkable life see HERE.
Source: images and information from nickreedent.com