SOMMER HERZ, Alice: Everything is a Present



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- (Disc 1)

Everything is a Present
Nupen, Christopher - Television Director

Year of Production: 2009
Playing Time: 00:53:00
Catalogue Number: NUPEN030
UPC: 814446010079

How many people remain in good shape, both mentally and physically, at the age of 106? The answer of course, is very few but, as I write this on her 106th birthday, Alice Sommer Herz is among those exceptional few.

And how many have the gift of forgiveness? And how many are free of hatred? Gigi Sommer has both of those qualities. I have never met anyone else with her depth of perception and natural wisdom.

She was imprisoned, with her six-year-old son, in the Theresienstadt concentration camp and saw unspeakable atrocities. She lost both her mother and her husband in Nazi death camps but she does not hate her persecutors. That is not because they are anything other than monstrous criminals but because she has the wisdom to know that all hatred hurts the soul of the hater, not the hated and Gigi Sommer's inspiring soul is among the things which she has kept intact and unblemished through her hundred and six years.

She was a pianist of distinction, played more than 100 concerts in the Theresienstadt camp and is in no doubt that music saved both her sanity and her life and the lives of many others in those unimaginable circumstances. She elaborates on this theme in the film.

Ask her what she has learned in her long life and she says, "To recognise the difference between what is important and what is not important. To understand the importance of learning and to learn, learn, learn. Finally, to be grateful for everything, because life is beautiful and everything is a present."

Ask her what has made her so happy and she says, Love, nature and music, which is the most beautiful thing coming out of mankind. This is my religion."

A few days before her birthday she said to me, "Old age is an illness. I am not myself. The body is not able to resist, as it did before. I think I am in my last days but it doesn't matter because I have had such a beautiful life."

- Christopher Nupen, 26 November 2009

Part 1

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