Alice Herz-Sommer died at the age of 110. She had survived two years in the brutal German camp, Theresiendstadt. Alice said that it was Chopin who helped her keep going and allowed her and her young son to live.
She had been a well-known pianist before the war. Once the Nazis invaded her homeland, Czechoslovakia, she began to study Chopin's Études. There are 27 solo pieces and Alice became an expert on the pieces. She said that the pieces offered her a wonderful distraction in times of great peril.
Chopin was her escape and her salvation. She said, "I thought if I learned to play them, they would save my life." And, they did. She played concerts at the camp and she was saved from any deportation lists.
After the war, Alice and her son emigrated to Israel where she taught at what is now the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. A number of documentaries on her life were filmed. The most recent being, "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life." It won the 2014 Oscar for short documentary.
We have lost one more important voice on World War II, but her story lives on in the films that recorded her amazing life and survival.
See the NY Times link for more on this fascinating woman: