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"Music is God": Alice Herz-Sommer, Beethoven, and the Power of Music

For those who have never heard of Alice Herz-Sommer (26 November 1903-23 February 2014), she was a Prague-born Jewish pianist who survived Theresienstadt concentration camp (the conditions of which were starkly dramatized in the grand miniseries "War and Remembrance," 1988-1989).

She died at the age of 110, one of the world's oldest known Holocaust survivors, one year after having been featured in the 2013 Academy Award-winning "Best Short Documentary" film: "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life."

For a glimpse of that film, check out the clip below on YouTube (the full film is available here), which ends with several glorious quotes from figures as varied as Plato ("Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything") and Ludwig van Beethoven ("Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy").

On 17 December 2020, we will mark the 250th anniversary of the great German composer's birth. He was one of Alice's personal heroes. She once said: "Music saved my life and music saves me still ... I am Jewish, but Beethoven is my religion."