Alice Herz-Sommer is “The Lady in Number 6.”
At 109 years of age, she is oldest living pianist – and Holocaust survivor.
Director Malcolm Clark wanted to document her story before it was too late. Named after where she resides in London, “The Lady in Number 6” is a 38-minute-long documentary that has been “shortlisted for the Academy Awards’ documentary short subject category,” The Huffington Post reports.
Herz-Sommer was 39 when she arrived at Theresienstadt, a theater camp for Auschwitz, with her young son. The facility was full of Jewish celebrities and intellectuals who “were used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes … to show the world how well the Jews of Europe were being treated.”
She has outlived her mother, husband and even her son, and through it all, Herz-Sommer has always had her music to help her not just survive, but thrive.
“My world is music,” she explains in the documentary. “I am not interested in anything else.”
It may be the intangible miracle of Music that ulitmately aided in her survival in Theresienstadt. A true musician in every sense of the word, music was her escape and from the documentary, the tones of gratitude and desperation show in her voice.
“I knew that we will play (instruments at Thereseinstadt) and I was thinking, ‘When we can play, it can’t be so terrible – the music, the music!'” Herz-Sommer recalls, when speaking about that dark period in her life.
She may say music is her sole love and interest, but she also admits she has found joy and comfort in a second source: Humanity.
“I love people. I love everyone … I love to speak with them. I am interested in the lives of other people,” Herz-Sommer says.
That love of others even extends to her Nazi tormentors.
“I never hate and I will never hate,” she says, passionately. “Hatred brings only hatred.”
On the documentary’s official website, producer Nicholas Reed shared why Herz-Sommer’s story is so important to share, especially in regards to the current society:
Kids all over the world grow up on superheroes, what we, their parents, must remind them, is documentaries tell stories about ‘real superheroes.’ Superheroes are based on great people, real people, like Alice Herz Sommer.