A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

Front Cover
Spiegel & Grau, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 232 pages
34 Reviews
An inspiring story of resilience and the power of optimism—the true story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor.
 
At 108 years old, the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer is an eyewitness to the entire last century and the first decade of this one. She has seen it all, surviving the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attending the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, and along the way coming into contact with some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time. As a child in Prague, she spent weekends and holidays in the company of Franz Kafka (whom she knew as “Uncle Franz”), and Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke were friendly with her mother. When Alice moved to Israel after the war, Golda Meir attended her house concerts, as did Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern. Today Alice lives in London, where she still practices piano for hours every day. 
 
Despite her imprisonment in Theresienstadt and the murders of her mother, husband, and friends by the Nazis, and much later the premature death of her son, Alice has been victorious in her ability to live a life without bitterness. She credits music as the key to her survival, as well as her ability to acknowledge the humanity in each person, even her enemies.A Century of Wisdomis the remarkable and inspiring story of one woman’s lifelong determination—in the face of some of the worst evils known to man—to find goodness in life. It is a testament to the bonds of friendship, the power of music, and the importance of leading a life of material simplicity, intellectual curiosity, and never-ending optimism.

Foreword by Václav Havel
  

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Review: A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

User Review  - Caroline Mcphail-Lambert - Goodreads

Awesome love story! 108 years of living through some of the worst times of humanity and this womyn does it with a smile on her face, love in her heart and laughter from her lips! Stoessinger shares ... Read full review

Review: A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

User Review  - Kelsey - Goodreads

What a beautiful book. Read full review

Contents

O N E Alice and Franz Kafk a
3
An Emerald Ring
14
T H R E E Peeling Potatoes
30
Dreaming
41
G H T Music Was Our Food
93
N E The Fiihrer Gives the Jews a City
109
E LEVE N Man in the Glass Booth
131
F0 U RT EE N Alice the Teacher
161
Acknowledgments
213
Bibliography
229
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Caroline Stoessinger, a pianist, has appeared on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and for twenty-five years has performed with the Tokyo String Quartet and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Stoessinger produced the televised dedication of the Schindler violin at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the first New York production of Brundibár. She has played in concert halls from Tokyo and Prague to Spillville, Iowa, and for many years served as the artistic director at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She is artistic director of chamber music at the Tilles Center, artist-in-residence at John Jay College, director of the Newberry Chamber Players at the Newberry Opera House, and founder and president of the Mozart Academy. She lives in New York City.

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