A documentary about the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor won an Oscar one week after she died.
The Prague-born Herz-Sommer, a concert pianist, was a prisoner in Theresienstadt.
In accepting the Oscar, the film’s director, Malcolm Clarke, said that he was struck by Herz-Sommer’s “extraordinary capacity for joy” and “amazing capacity for forgiveness.”
“Young people take everything for granted, whereas we, the elderly, understand nature,“ Herz-Sommer told Haaretz in an interview at age 106. “What I have learned, at my advanced age, is to be grateful that we have a nice life.
There is electricity, cars, telegraph, telephone, Internet. We also have hot water all day long. We live like kings. I even got used to the bad weather in London,” she said.
When asked in 2006 what the secret of her longevity was, she answered: "In a word: optimism. I look at the good. When you are relaxed, your body is always relaxed. When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way. It is up to us whether we look at the good or the bad. When you are nice to others, they are nice to you. When you give, you receive.”
“My recommendation is not to eat a lot, but also not to go hungry. Fish or chicken and plenty of vegetables.”
When asked whether she was afraid of dying, she replied: “Not at all. No. I was a good person, I helped people, I was loved, I have a good feeling.”
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now