One of the most touching moments of the Oscars was the award for a documentary short called “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.” It is the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, who died at age 110 just before her story was celebrated at the Oscars. She was born in Prague. Her parents’ friends included Kafka and Mahler. After the Nazis invaded, she was sent to Theresienstadt with her son. That camp was notoriously used to mislead Red Cross inspectors and others and she performed in over 100 concerts for visitors.
Her husband died in Dachau. After the war, she emigrated to Israel, and later lived in London. “I am Jewish,” she said, “but my religion is Beethoven.” A book about her life, A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor, was published in 26 countries.
Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed accepted their Oscar for the film on Sunday night and spoke movingly of their admiration and affection for Herz-Sommer. I hope this award helps make their film widely available.