Search

World’s oldest known Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer dies aged 110

PUBLISHED: 13:33 24 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 February 2014

Alice Herz-Sommer with A Garden of Eden In Hell, a book exploring her life story. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Alice Herz-Sommer with A Garden of Eden In Hell, a book exploring her life story. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Archant

The world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110, her family have said.

Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived in Belsize Grove, Belsize Park, was imprisoned in the camp in Terezin, or Theresienstadt, in Germany during the Second World War.

Ms Herz-Sommer, originally from Prague, was a talented musician and an adept pianist.

She is said to have counted esteemed existentialist writer Franz Kafka among her family friends and, more recently, was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary about her life.

The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, a 38-minute film, is up for best short documentary at the Academy Awards to be handed out next weekend.

Last night, her grandson, Ariel Sommer, said: “Alice Sommer passed away peacefully this morning with her family by her bedside.

“Much has been written about her, but to those of us who knew her best, she was our dear ‘Gigi’. She loved us, laughed with us, and cherished music with us.

“She was an inspiration and our world will be significantly poorer without her by our side. We mourn her loss and ask for privacy in this very difficult moment.”

Writing on the film’s website, Ms Herz-Sommer said: “Music saved my life and music saves me still.”

She is said to have spent her final days continuing to play the works of Schubert and Beethoven at her home.

Speaking on the film’s website, she said: “I am Jewish, but Beethoven is my religion. I am no longer myself. The body cannot resist as it did in the past.

“I think I am in my last days but it doesn’t really matter because I have had such a beautiful life.

“And 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.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 18:07

The Labour Party’s national executive committee (NEC), including leader Jeremy Corbyn, have voted to ask Haringey Council to stop the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).

Yesterday, 11:52

Police are appealing for information after a 15-year-old girl was raped in Crouch End in December.

Yesterday, 09:40

A police manhunt is underway for a 21-year-old who failed to turn up to court on seven charges of robbery in Highgate, Muswell Hill and Crouch End.

Yesterday, 09:33

The future is bright for Hawley Primary School following the official opening of its new building.

Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played in the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz will join other survivors at an event to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day at JW3, the London Jewish Cultural Centre,in Hampstead.

Mon, 10:16

Students from Portland Place School have demonstrated their support for anti-bullying by winning first place in the ‘odd socks day challenge’.

On Monday January 15, the BBC featured the enforcement of council tax in its Inside Out London programme.

January is well underway but it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

PROMOTED CONTENT

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now