September 23, 2019

Survivor, 110, dies as film on her life vies for Oscar

Alice Herz-Sommer, at 110 the oldest known Holocaust survivor, died Sunday (2/23) in London, after starring in a documentary on her life up for a possible Oscar win on March 2.

Her death in a London hospital after a brief illness was confirmed by her grandson, Ariel Sommer, who told Reuters that “Alice passed away peacefully with her family at her bedside.”

Born in Prague in 1903 into an upper class Jewish family, which counted Franz Kafka and Gustav Mahler among its friends, Herz-Sommer was known as much for her triumphs as a concert pianist as for her indomitable optimism, cheerfulness and vitality.

After marrying and giving birth to a son, her pleasant artistic life was shattered with Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia.

In 1943, she was deported to the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto, along with her mother, husband, and then six-year old son Raphael (Rafi).