Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor and a woman whose story was told in the Oscar-nominated short documentary “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” died on Sunday in London at the age of 110.
The documentary, by director Malcolm Clark and producer Nick Reed, details how Herz-Sommer survived in the Theresienstadt concentration camp by playing classical music for the camp inmates and the Nazi guards. After the war, with her mother and husband having died in the camps, moved to Israel and continued performing music.
In the 1980s, after the death of her only son, she moved to London. Even after she passed the age of 100, she played piano in her North London flat every morning, serenading neighbors who came to expect the sound of her daily recitals filling the building. In the film, Herz-Sommen refused to be bitter or angry about her experience during the war.
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“Telling Alice’s story was a life changing experience for everyone who worked on the film,” said Clark and Reed in a statement. “Even as her energy slowly diminished, her bright sprit never faltered. Her life force was so strong we could never imagine her not being around.
“We are so proud to been so fortunate to capture Alice’s lessons for all the generations to come. We can all learn so much from this most amazing woman.”
According to a spokesperson for the film, Herz-Sommer fell ill on Thursday, and spent two nights in the hospital until her death on Sunday morning.
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” is one of five nominees in the Best Documentary Short category, and is currently considered one of the frontrunners to win. Oscar voting closes Tuesday at 5 p.m.