November 26, 2010

"Music is God. In difficult times, you feel it. Especially when you are suffering."

Today is the 107th birthday of Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest living Holocaust survivor.

"I am richer than other people."


Lee Merrick said...

I don't know if music is God, but it surely takes me to God.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've already said MY RELIGION IS MUSIC:

This guy's just trying to steal my thunder.

reader_iam said...

A treasure.

Bob_R said...

I've always felt music to be the most important part of my religious experiences. For me it's an important emotional connection to the transcendent - the part of reality that lie beyond the reach of our senses and the ability of our minds to comprehend. (Our rational mind encourages us to infer the existence of such reality. Perhaps Godel's theorem proves it's existence.)

ricpic said...

With all due respect to this woman's suffering only God is God and idol worship is precisely what put her and her family in the camps.

edutcher said...

Kudos to that lady. A true exemplar of faith and survival against all odds.

PS What put her in the camps had nothing to do with her religion, but people turning away from religion, ric.

I see your point, but I think you're going in the wrong direction.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

My dear, late, friend Sara Nomberg Przytyk somehow managed to survive Mengele's outfit. Google her name, and the books she has published.

I met her in Qu├ębec, where because she spoke no English (and little French) I learnt some Polish to communicate with her.

We both spoke fluent German, but for some reason she didn't wish to speak it.

Towards the end of her life there was a young German agricultural student who came her son's farm, where she lived. The German girl spoke not a word of English or French -- to say nothing of Polish -- so Sara served as translator between this 18-year-old and Sara's son, the farmer.

By the end of the summer Sara and the young woman were chatting all day in German. When she left, Sara wept.

The next time I was at their house she spoke to me in German (my Polish was pretty lousy) with a huge smile on her face.

"I understood," she told me "that not only had this young girl nothing to do with the Nazis, but that her parents, too, weren't even born until after the war."

"Now I can speak German in peace. Now I can die in peace."

Which she did the following spring.

MamaM said...

Our entire universe vibrates with energy.

Chemical energy
Mechanical energy
Nuclear energy
Gravitational energy
Electrical energy
Radiant energy
Thermal energy
Motion energy
and at the end of the list...


k*thy said...

I love her.

Lem said...

What a beautiful lady.

The Crack Emcee said...

I wrote before that "this guy's just trying to steal my thunder", which is stupid since it's a woman, but now I've read the piece and have another issue to pick with her:

This idea that hatred has no place in life is wrong.

I was just discussing this with a friend a few days ago and we both agreed that, without hate, we wouldn't be here. Anger is good. Rage is good. Hatred is good. The people who don't understand this have never fought for their lives.

This woman is a "survivor". There's nothing wrong with that - her circumstances most certainly necessitated it - but it's not the same thing as being the winner. I have stamped on the faces of those who attempted to oppress, or even kill me - and did it with relish. They demanded it. They demanded I be willing to go there, to accept it, to become that - and I did. And I'm proud of it.

In a world that's given no quarter, no quarter is given in return. Those are the rules. I didn't make them.

Is there room for love? Of course, but not much. There's even less now, after the incident. Now there's only moving forward. One day after the other. Hoping nobody messes with me. Knowing somebody will. They can't seem to help themselves, so I no longer try.

Hatred has it's place - and, for sure, it's a place of pride.

MamaM said...

Pride and hatred are useful tools for self protection. When they are not balanced with experiences of beauty, creativity, excellence, imagination, and the Grace and Truth of unconditional love, they become destructive and deadly.

I have lived with hatred and love. As a trauma and abuse survivor, I am alive today because the latter trumped the former.

Ann Althouse said...

"This idea that hatred has no place in life is wrong."

Well, few live to be 106. That woman has a special sort of optimism, and it might be an important secret to long life. I noticed that she said that with age come special perceptions of the beauty of life. I think that is true, from what I've seen. I consider myself pretty old, but she is from my grandparents generation. My own grandparents have been dead since the early 1970s. It's hard to imagine them alive all these years. But I would love to live that long and be lucid and optimistic. If the price of all that is to let go of hate....

former law student said...

A special kind of grief must attend outliving one's only child, but I see that her son had two sons of his own.

And her life story reveals yet another facet of the Nazi insanity, that they, in the face of the Soviet invasion, and thus imminent liberation of the death camps, burned up their limited resources to ship Jews west from Auschwitz to places like Dachau, where weeks after the Soviets liberated Auschwitz and would have freed him, her husband contracted typhus and died.

reader_iam said...

I'm still not convinced I want to live much past 68 or, maybe, 72 (I know, I know: I do have some family and friends, you know). Can we dispense with the [so-called] hate *now* rather than *later*?

reader_iam said...

[so called] in order to account for some very real hostility, if not mostly actual hate, but also, and, more important, to account for a lot of overwhelmingly lazy and, therefore, stupid expression.

wv: actings

Seriously. That's what it is.

reader_iam said...

You know what? I edited myself, and I shouldn't have. What I first wrote was 65 or, maybe, 70. But then I had second thoughts.

AST said...

Emotion is the language of the spirit, and music is one of its dialects. If you need an example, listen to Nessun Dorma. You don't need to know any Italian.

former law student said...

reader: may you live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live.

reader_iam said...

Talk about self-editing. At one time, I would have had a lot to say--a lot--with regard to this post, and from various angles (a lot of angles, and not just including those related to my musician, by trade and profession, parents).


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