Oldest-Known Holocaust Survivor Dies at 110

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 24 2014 4:44 PM

Oldest-Known Holocaust Survivor Dies at 110

Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest-known Holocaust survivor, died Sunday at the age of 110, her family confirmed today. A talented pianist, Herz-Sommer performed during her time in the concentration camp Theresienstadt during the war, and her life was the subject of this year's Oscar-nominated documentary The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Here's CNN with a bit more about how she survived the war:

Originally from Prague in what was then Czechoslovakia, Herz-Sommer was imprisoned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War II. It was music that saved her. She and others performed concerts that entertained the Nazis.
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Theresienstadt was a ghetto-labor camp to which the SS deported and then incarcerated certain categories of German, Austrian, and Czech Jews, based on their age, disability as a result of past military service, or domestic celebrity in the arts and other cultural life, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Despite being taken from most of her family and held in the labor camp, Herz-Sommer’s mindset seemed to be nothing but positive and thankful toward the end of her life. In the documentary, she expressed her joy in music and its ability to deliver her to peace during difficult times, saying: "When we can play it cannot be so terrible."

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.