|Alice Herz-Sommer believed to be the oldest-known survivor of the Holocaust,|
died in London on Sunday morning at the age of 110. Photo: AP
Oldest Holocaust survivor dies aged 110
February 24, 2014
The world's oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110, her family have said.
Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived in London and was originally from Prague, was confined in the Terezin - or Theresienstadt - concentration camp for two years after the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia during the Second World War.
Ms Herz-Sommer was a renowned concert pianist who is said to have counted esteemed existentialist writer Franz Kafka among her family friends.
She was recently made the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
The 38-minute film is up for best short documentary at the Academy Awards to be handed out next weekend.
Ms Herz-Sommer died in a London hospital on Sunday morning after being admitted on Friday, according to her family.
Speaking the same day, her grandson, Ariel Sommer, said: "Alice Sommer passed away peacefully this morning with her family by her bedside.
"Much has been written about her, but to those of us who knew her best, she was our dear 'Gigi'.
"She loved us, laughed with us, and cherished music with us.
"She was an inspiration and our world will be significantly poorer without her by our side. We mourn her loss and ask for privacy in this very difficult moment."
Born into a musical Moravian family, Ms Herz-Sommer began her musical education aged five and was soon taking piano lessons with Conrad Ansorge, a pupil of Franz Liszt.
She met her husband, musician Leopold Sommer, in 1931 and married him just two weeks later.
The couple and their son, Raphael, were sent from Prague in 1943 to a camp in the Czech city of Terezín, where nearly 35,000 prisoners died.
Inmates were allowed to stage concerts in which she frequently starred.
She never saw her husband again after he was moved to Auschwitz in 1944 and many in her extended family and most of the friends she had grown up with were also lost in the Holocaust.
After the war, she went to Israel with her sisters and taught music in Tel Aviv before moving to London for her son, who had grown up to become a concert cellist but who died suddenly in 2001 while on tour.
Writing on the forthcoming film's website, Ms Herz-Sommer said: "Music saved my life and music saves me still."
She is said to have spent her final days continuing to play the works of Schubert and Beethoven, from her home in central London.
Speaking on the film's website, she said: "I am Jewish, but Beethoven is my religion. I am no longer myself. The body cannot resist as it did in the past.
I think I am in my last days but it doesn't really matter because I have had such a beautiful life.
The Lady in No. 6