By B.L. Ochman
This is not a post about digital strategy. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit, the joy of music, and the power of love. I strongly urge you to stop what you’re doing and spend 12 minutes watching this trailer for the new Academy Award-nominated documentary, “The Lady in Number 6.”
Alice Herz-Sommer – the world’s oldest Nazi concentration camp survivor – will turn 110 on November 26, 2013. And she says, even after surviving the camps, where she was imprisoned with her young son, “I never hate, and I will never hate,” she says. “Hatred brings only hatred.”
“The Alice Challenge“ aims to get 1 million birthday wishes posted for Alice. Please add yours!
“Every day in life” she says, “is beautiful.” She says music was the only thing that allowed her and her fellow concentration camp prisoners to have hope. Only she and her son survived the war. Despite having lost her family and all of her friends in the Holocaust, her faith and inspiration is the most clear when she says “I was always laughing, even there I was laughing.”
“The Lady in Number 6” Documentary Released
The trailer of the new film “The Lady in Number 6,” approached millions of views as it went viral in 2010, while filmmaker Malcolm Clarke tried to raise the funds to complete the project. The film is complete and Alice is now the subject of Clarke’s full-length, Academy Award-qualifiying documentary, “The Lady in Number 6”.
The wonderfully upbeat and optimistic Alice begins each day practicing Bach and Beethoven for three hours, so, she says, she won’t forget the music. “I am alone but not lonely because my life is rich with music. Music saved my life,” she says. “I never hate, and I will never hate,” she says. “Hatred brings only hatred.”
People ask, How could you make music?
She endured the miseries of the Prague ghetto, spent two years in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) concentration camp, where nearly 35,000 prisoners perished. “We had to play music because the Red Cross came and the Germans were trying to show what a good life we had,” says Sommer. “It was our luck, actually. Even so, hundreds and hundreds were dying around us every day.” And she adds, with mind-boggling understatement, “It was a hard time.” Her son performed in the Theresienstadt Children’s Opera, and was one of only 130 of the 15,000 children who survived the camp. Sadly, he died when he was 65.
She says in the film, “People ask, ‘How could you make music?’ We were so weak. But music was special, like a spell.” She gave more than 150 concerts there, and she says “there were excellent musicians there, really excellent. Violinists, cellists, singers, conductors and composers.”
“In any case, life is beautiful, extremely beautiful. And when you are old you appreciate it more. When you are older you think, you remember, you care and you appreciate. You are thankful for everything”
We are thankful for you, Alice. Happy Birthday, Thank You, and God bless you.