A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor
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
What people are saying - Write a review
Kind of Prayer: A Century of Wisdom from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the Oldest Living Holocaust SurvivorUser Review - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict
As an inmate at the Theresienstadt concentration camp who performed more than 100 concerts for her fellow inmates, pianist Alice Herz-Sommer is now 107—the oldest living Holocaust survivor. Though ... Read full review
O N E Alice and Franz Kafk a
An Emerald Ring
T H R E E Peeling Potatoes
G H T Music Was Our Food
N E The Fiihrer Gives the Jews a City
E LEVE N Man in the Glass Booth
F0 U RT EE N Alice the Teacher
Other editions - View all
Adolf Eichmann Alice asked Alice Herz-Sommer Alice played Alice says Alice’s Anita apartment arrived artists Auschwitz Bach beautiful Beethoven began birthday Brundibar Brundibdr cake cellist cello child Chopin concentration camp concert Conservatory Czech Czechoslovakia death deportation Dora Edith Edna Ester father Felix Weltsch felt ﬁ lm ﬁ nd ﬁ rst ﬁlm ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬂowers Franz Kafka friends Genevieve German Gerron Golda Meir Herz Hitler husband Ibid Israel Israeli Jerusalem Jewish Jews Kafk Kaﬂ<a Karel Berman Krasa later learned Leopold lessons listen lives London looked Max Brod memories Mitzi mother musicians Nazis nearly never orchestra Palestine Paul Paul Tortelier performances Philharmonic pianist piano practice Prague prisoners Raﬁ Red Cross smile Soﬁe Sommer Sonata Soviet Stépan survived talk teacher Theresienstadt tion told Tortelier Viktor Ullmann violin violinist wanted Weltsch Wendy Wiesel woman words wrote York young Zdenka Zweig