Alice Herz-Sommer, Who Found Peace in Chopin Amid Holocaust, Dies at 110
Throughout her two years in Theresienstadt, through the hunger and cold and death all around her, through the loss of her mother and husband, Alice Herz-Sommer was sustained by a Polish man who had died long before. His name was Frédéric Chopin.
It was Chopin, Mrs. Herz-Sommer averred to the end of her long life, who let her and her young son survive in the camp, also known as Terezin, which the Nazis operated in what was then Czechoslovakia from 1941 until the end of the war in Europe.
Mrs. Herz-Sommer, who died in London on Sunday at 110, and who was widely described as the oldest known Holocaust survivor, had been a distinguished pianist in Europe before the war. But it was only after the Nazi occupation of her homeland, Czechoslovakia, in 1939 that she began a deep study of Chopin’s Études, the set of 27 solo pieces that are some of the most technically demanding and emotionally impassioned works in the piano repertory....
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