The amazing life of Alice Herz-Sommer

Alice Herz-Sommer described herself as 'full of joy'. (TheLadyInNumberSix/YouTube)

Alice Herz-Sommer described herself as 'full of joy'. (TheLadyInNumberSix/YouTube)

Listen

Alice Herz-Sommer was the world's oldest pianist -- and the world's oldest Holocaust survivor when she starred in the Oscar-winning short film The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.

The 38-minute film tells the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, whose devotion to music and her son helped her survive a Nazi concentration camp. She recently died at age 110, just days before the film won an Academy Award. 

The Alice effect

As director Malcolm Clarke explains, the positive and uplifting nature of Herz-Sommer was what convinced him to tell her story. 

"When you meet someone like Alice, someone who was pure joy, who was so graceful and gracious, it kind of questions everything," Clarke explains. "There was no intention originally of making a bigger film, but the more we learned about her, the more we realized she had this amazing life."


The two-time Academy Award-winning director also reflects on how Herz-Sommer touched him personally and what we could all learn from the optimistic and Alice Herz-Sommer

"That's a very, very special person that can take something so traumatic and dark and still find the silver lining," says Clarke. "She did remind us of something that we all forget; we all take for granted what a gift we have just to be alive."

Alice Herz-Sommer shares her views on how to live a long happy life.

)

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.