Happiness and Music: A Century of Wisdom from Alice Herz-Sommer

Alice Herz-Sommer is 108 years old. She is the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust.

A lot can be learned from someone who’s been alive for over a century.  And Alice Herz-Sommer says the most important life lesson she learned was how to be happy. As an eye-witness to some of the world’s greatest atrocities and greatest triumphs, Alice knows perhaps too much about the entire spectrum of the human experience: from the most sublime pleasure to the most exquisite pain.

A brilliant pianist, Alice credits music as the one thing that has always kept her going.  “Music saved my life,” she’s said in countless interviews.  A few of her other life philosophies include: “Be grateful for everything”, and, believe it or not “Smiling helps a lot.”

In Caroline Stoessinger’s book, A Century of Wisdom, she tells us all about Alice’s remarkable life, from her humble beginnings in Prague, through her successful young adulthood as a concert pianist and teacher, and into her later years as a Holocaust survivor.  Through it all, perhaps the most inspiring aspect of Alice’s life is her undying optimism, her resilience in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds, and the fact that even today, after experiencing levels of loss and heartache most of us will never have to endure, she still greets each day with a smile.

As Alice puts it: “Only when we are so old—only then are we aware of the beauty of life.” Learn more about Alice’s amazing story in the video below:


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