Put As Much As You Can Into Your Heads – Nobody Can Take That Away From You

“Every day in life is beautiful. Every day. It’s beautiful.”

Alice Herz-Sommer’s stellar heath at the age of 109 is not the only thing that makes her special. She is the oldest living pianist and Holocaust survivor, and arguably one of the most optimistic people you may ever meet. This touching preview for the upcoming documentary following her life,  “The Lady In Number 6,” shows how music not only saved her life in the camp, but also continues to carry her through each day after the ordeal.

The camp in which she was placed is a terrifying example of the ultimate living-theatre experiment. In 1944, the German leaders created a propaganda film and presented Theresienstadt as a model Jewish settlement to the visiting Red Cross; it was all an elaborate hoax.

Opera

The Germans “beautified” the ghetto, planting gardens and painting houses. Individuals received roles to play and the Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries. Hints that all was not well included a bruise under the eye of the “mayor” of the “town.”  In the Nazi propaganda film, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a “spa town” where elderly German Jews could “retire” in safety. Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.

And yet still, shining examples like Alice appear, wielding hope as an impenetrable shield:

“I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times — including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.”

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6 thoughts on “Put As Much As You Can Into Your Heads – Nobody Can Take That Away From You

  1. Reblogged this on Inkspeare and commented:
    I had to share this beautiful and inspirational story that I found via the blog Thoughts on Theatre. It is wonderful. I invite you to watch the video; you will be blessed.

  2. Music as a moral support, yes. Such a wonderful video! We are currently mounting a production of Weinberg’s Passenger, an opera about Auschwitz, here at Houston Grand Opera. There is a moment when a young violinist chooses to play Bach rather than the waltz requested by the Kommandant and pays for it with his life. His playing is the only moment of “release” in the whole piece. Thanks for sharing this and I will share it forward.

    kat

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