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A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the…

av Caroline Stoessinger, Alice Herz-Sommer

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1178186,364 (3.66)1
Collects life lessons by a Holocaust survivor and concert pianist, sharing the wisdom she has gleaned and insights into her resolve to thrive in spite of loss and her choice to harbor no bitterness toward her oppressors.
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A 108 anni la pianista Alice Herz-Sommer è la più anziana fra i sopravvissuti alla Shoah ed è stata protagonista e testimone del "secolo breve" e del primo decennio del nuovo millennio. (fonte: Google Books)
  MemorialeSardoShoah | May 26, 2020 |
Es la historia de la pianista Alice Herz, una obra en la que destaca el poder del optimismo. A sus 108 ha sido testigo de todo el siglo XX. Sobrevivió a los campos de concentración, fue testigo de los asesinatos de sus familiares, se relaciono con Kafka, Freud.....la música ha sido la clave de su supervivencia ( )
  pedrolopez | Mar 15, 2014 |
A good book full of good wisdom for us all. Alice's life is an inspiration and a testament to the power of positivity. I loved Alice's non-negative attitude, which saw her through some of life's toughest moments: the Holocaust, the loss of her husband, the loss of her son, and the loss of her parents. What a didn't enjoy about the book was that it jumps around between time periods. I think it would have been better had there been more flow to it. Still it was a worthwhile read and was very meaningful. ( )
  briandrewz | Mar 10, 2014 |
Look at the complete title of this book. The book is more about Alice Herz-Sommer's life philosophy than the events that shaped that philosophy. She is the oldest living holocaust survivor. Yes, she is still living and will be 110 in November 2013. She and her son survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp. She has met many famous musicians, conductors, composers, philosophers, authors and politicians. She speaks of their accomplishments and how she came to know each of them. Kafka she met when still a child. He was a friend of her older sister's husband. Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke were friends of her mother. Golda Meir, Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern came to her informal concerts at home when she lived in Israel, and she offered piano lessons to teach Gold Meir. But honestly, it is more that she brushed shoulders with these people rather than that they were her very close friends.

She was a fantastic pianist. Music was the central theme of her life - always! Her love for music really shines through. Music is not just something she enjoys; it is something that is important and vital to all life. That is what this book says AND that one must face life with optimism.

Optimism. She refused to even talk about the years in Theresienstadt. Having survived she looked forward rather than backward. She never let those years be discussed at home after the war when she was raising her son. Complaining she frowned upon. Laughter and music were the medicine for all ills. The book is filled with lots of wise lines.....but although most all of us will agree on her wisdom and sage statements, it is only when you look at a particular event that one can determine the correct way of behaving. I will give only one example of what I am referring too. Some children benefit from talking about the difficult experiences they have gone through. Avoiding a topic is not always helpful. Talk is necessary for some people and in some situations. So generalizations, that we all agree on, are less interesting than figuring out what to do in a particular situation. The main emphasis of this book is her life philosophy, but there is no discussion of when and where and how to put these principles into practice. Do you see what bothered me?

I liked learning about her personal experiences in Theresienstadt. I am glad they were included in the book and not avoided. Many of her friends did not even know she was a holocaust survivor! That is the extent to which she refused to speak of those years.

I like the woman very much. I respect her. My rating is a judgment of the book, not the person. The book hops from one time to another, from one subject to another. There is a chapter on her friends, but we are told about their wonderful accomplishments more than about their relationship with Alice.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Linda Korn. It was clearly spoken, but in a sweet tone of admiration that was not to my liking. She cannot do an Irish brogue, although she tries in a few lines spoken by the concierge of Alice's apartment building. Some of the names, and there were lots mentioned, I could not decipher. That is a clear advantage of a paper book.

For me, the most interesting parts about this book were her Theresienstadt memories and the parts about Kafka and Spinoza. I am very glad I have met Alice Herz-Sommer. ( )
1 rösta chrissie3 | Aug 28, 2013 |
In our modern time of professional victimhood and taking offense at the most minute of slights, Caroline Stroessinger's A Century of Wisdom's greatest lesson may be that no one can diminish you without your consent. The book focuses on the remarkable life story of pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest living Holocaust survivor.

Strossinger details Herz-Sommer's early life Prague and her captivity at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, including the lost of her husband and mother to the Nazis. Yet instead of being a retelling of the horrors of the Holocaust, we are treated to an amazing story of hope, inspiration, and strength. Despite her terrible experiences at Theresienstadt, Herz-Sommer chose to embrace the beauty and wonder of life through her music. She simply rejects the horror around her and instead throws herself into her music to build her inner strength and resilience.

If Herz-Sommer's story had merely ended with the liberation of Theresienstadt and her going on to raise her son, her life would still have been an amazing story to tell. But it is what she accomplished afterwards that truly defines who she is. At one point in the narrative, we learn that the Holocaust was not discussed in her home while raising her son. Not because she was in denial regarding the things that happened. But simply because she refused to allow it to define her and her family. Instead of dwelling on what-might-have-beens and nursing anger, she threw herself into her music even more and chooses a life worth living.

There are a few points where Stroessinger gets in the way of the story, interrupting the narrative with data dumps of historical information. While perhaps useful for context, some of these data dumps are inelegant compared to the rest of the work. She also sometimes slips into the present tense (though this may have been resolved in the final book. My version was an advanced uncorrected proof). But the tense change is sometimes jarring, particularly after an emotionally charged point in the narrative. ( )
  juliedawson | Feb 7, 2013 |
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Herz-Sommer, Alicehuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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Met haar 108 jaar is Alice niet alleen de oudste overlevende van de Holocaust, maar ook de oudste concertpianist ter wereld.
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Ik kan met een goed gevoel doodgaan. Ik geloof dat ik mijn leven op de juiste manier heb geleefd. - Alice Herz-Sommer
We hebben geen spullen nodig. Vrienden zijn waardevol. - Alice Herz-Sommer
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Collects life lessons by a Holocaust survivor and concert pianist, sharing the wisdom she has gleaned and insights into her resolve to thrive in spite of loss and her choice to harbor no bitterness toward her oppressors.

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