Friday, October 29, 2010

Inspiring women

Yesterday morning, I got sidetracked by a 12-minute YouTube video when I should have been getting ready for work.

A friend of mine had forwarded the link in an e-mail that said she is “collecting” women who inspire her. “Pls watch this and tell me how worthy she is of making my list,” she wrote.

I was curious, but had no intention of watching the entire video. Just a minute or two, I decided. As it turned out, that was all it took to override my intentions.

And my friend’s request? Completely rhetorical.

The subject of the video is a 106-year-old survivor of Theresienstadt, a Nazi propaganda camp to show that inmates there were treated well.

A former concert pianist who performed all of Chopin’s ├ętudes from memory at the camp, Alice Sommer – the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor – was born in Prague in November 1903, and now lives in London, England.

She still plays piano and receives visitors every day, sharing life wisdom often peppered with an engaging laugh.

A sample from the video: “A lot of German journalists... ask, ‘Are we allowed to enter your room? Do you not hate us?’ So my answer is, ‘I never hate, and I will never hate. Hatred brings only hatred.”

I watched the video a second time as I began to write this blog entry yesterday afternoon, then drove home with Sommer’s melodic renditions echoing in my head.

Click here to see the video.

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