Alice Herz-Sommer is a Holocaust survivor who passed away in 2014 at the age of 110. In this video, she shares some wisdom and reveals the secret to longevity.
Aliza Herz was born in Prague, Czech Republic, in 1903. She married businessman and amateur musician Leopold Sommer in 1931 and they had a son, Stephan, who later took on the name Raphael. When Czechoslovakia was invaded, most of her family and friends fled to what was then called Palestine. Herz stayed in Prague to care for her ill mother with her family, who were all soon taken to a concentration camp where her mother was murdered. In July of 1943, she was sent to Theresienstadt with her son, who was one of the few children to survive the death camp.
As a prisoner, Herz used her musical skills to perform over 100 concerts along with other musicians for prisoners and guards. About the performances, she said,
“We had to play because the Red Cross came three times a year. The Germans wanted to show its representatives that the situation of the Jews in Theresienstadt was good. Whenever I knew that I had a concert, I was happy. Music is magic. We performed in the council hall before an audience of 150 old, hopeless, sick and hungry people. They lived for the music. It was like food to them. If they hadn’t come [to hear us], they would have died long before. As we would have.” (Haaretz, 2014)
Six weeks before the camp was liberated, her husband died of typhus in Dachau. In 1945, when she left Theresienstadt with her son, they moved to Prague, and in March of 1949 they made the move to Israel so she could join her surviving family. She stayed in the Holy Land for 40 years before emigrating to London in 1986.
This video features an interview with Herz from December 2011, in which she shares her secrets for a good life.