The death of Alice Herz-Sommer
Those of us who walked through the streets of London’s Belsize Park/Swiss Cottage neighbourhood could hear her playing every day. She was an institution and her long life meant that she kept memories alive. These memories have now become history, offering both opportunities and difficulties. No longer can one call upon first hand experience – but often looking beyond personal recollection, it’s possible to find deeper truths and more profound motivations. Her passing closes a lengthy chapter. How telling that the oldest Holocaust survivor – as the press has been calling her – was a musician and puts music down to both her survival and her long life. Who knows – probably it was her optimism – and optimism, like love, is a gift as rare as absolute pitch and a photographic memory.
Martin Anderson speaks with Alice Herz-Sommer