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

The full title is A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor. It’s by Caroline Stoessinger, forward by Vaclav Havel, and read by Linda Korn. It’s out unabridged on CD from Random House Audio. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

Alice Herz-Sommer was born in 1903 in Prague. Her father was a successful merchant, and her mother moved in circles of well-known artists and writers, including Gustav Mahler, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, and Franz Kafka. Alice married a violinist and was well on her way to a distinguished career as a concert pianist.

In 1942, Alice and her husband and five-year-old son were deported to the concentration camp Theresienstadt. Alice continued performing in the camp, and staged the opera “Brundibar.” Her husband died there and when Thereseinstadt was liberated Alice and her son immigrated to Israel. At 45 she taught at the Conservatory of the Jerusalem Academy of Music. At 87 she moved to London for her son, who died shortly thereafter.

Still living on her own, Alice practices piano daily and frequently plays chamber music with professionals who stop by to visit her. Despite her years of imprisonment in Theresienstadt and the murders of her mother, husband, and friends at the hands of the Nazis, Alice has wasted no time on bitterness. Aware that hatred eats the soul of the hater rather than the hated, Alice reasons, “I am still grateful for life. Life is a present.”

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