Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “De Pianiste van Theresiënstadt” as Want to Read:
De Pianiste van Theresiënstadt
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

De Pianiste van Theresiënstadt

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  622 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Alice Herz-Sommer wordt in 1903 in Praag geboren, in een gezin dat behoort tot de culturele elite van die tijd. Bijna dagelijks hebben haar ouders mensen als Mahler, Rilke, Mann, Zweig en Kafka te gast, en Alice groeit welvarend en beschermd op. De Eerste Wereldoorlog overleeft het gezin ongehavend, en vlak voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog begint Alice naam te maken als concert ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 2012 by De Boekerij
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about De Pianiste van Theresiënstadt, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about De Pianiste van Theresiënstadt

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
When Alice Sommer was a young woman, she was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp along with her six-year-old son Rafi and husband Leopold. A hugely successful concert pianist in Czechoslovakia her music, she feels, saved her life. In the camp she was able to keep Rafi with her because of his age, but Leopold was taken to the men's side of the camp. She never saw him again.

The devastation of not being able to keep Rafi from hunger tore at her, but with him by her side she could keep hi
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 w ...more
Mar 09, 2014 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Herz-Sommer is a truly inspirational woman, who did not allow the atrocities and losses she experienced in the Nazi concentration camps to affect the rest of her life. She lived life to the fullest and was grateful for every single thing, whether big or small, she was given. We all can learn from Alice and live and be happy in the present. In Alice's own words " Every day is a miracle. No matter how bad my circumstances, I have the freedom to choose my attitude to life,even to find joy.No ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Laurel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
At 109, Alice Herz-Sommer is the oldest living Holocaust survivor. She was born in Prague in 1903 and became an accomplished classical pianist by the time she was in her 30s. However, her life changed suddenly in 1942 when she and her family were seized by Nazi soldiers and placed in a concentration camp. There, her talents as a musician saved her life. The Nazis wanted to create a propaganda film in order to give the false impression that the Jews in their camp were being treated well. Herz-Som ...more
3.5 stars.
As I read this, I was amazed by Alice’s ability to remain so positive in the face of all she had endured in her life. I was also surprised by some of her descriptions of life in the concentration camps - how she described some of it didn’t sound as bad as other accounts I have heard. Perhaps that is another example of her positivity - maybe the bad aspects didn’t stand out for her as long as she had the ability to make music.

This attitude carried on into other parts of her life - she m
Julie Dawson
Jan 04, 2013 Julie Dawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book.

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 concentrati
Jun 21, 2013 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this biography, the author attempts to highlight the life and passions of Alice Herz-Sommers' journey as a 108-year old Holocaust survivor who credits her love of music for her living through the madness of Theresienstadt with her son, Rafi. Her talent surely had much to do with her survival as the Nazis used the camp and its musicians as an "example" of how well they were treating their enemies at the time. There are very bleak stories of Alice's times in the camp and her encouragement to he ...more
Mar 21, 2014 Dolly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading biographies
This is an engaging biography of a woman who survived the holocaust, and was made famous in the Academy-award winning documentary, The Lady in Number 6, for being the oldest living holocaust survivor.

Her passion for music is the highlight of the book, as is her amazingly positive outlook on life and death. I have added to this review many of the memorable quotes from the book, but I must say that the book is just filled with inspirational messages.

The narrative is very enlightening and through
Joy H.
Jan 16, 2015 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, holocaust, music

Last night (1/15/15) I streamed a very unusual documentary entitled:
"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life" (2014)
It is an Academy Award-winning documentary (2014). So inspiring!

"Czech pianist and holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer describes how music enabled her to survive one of the darkest chapters in human history."

I was looking around for some
In contrast to Alice's Piano, A Century of Wisdom is not chronological. Rather, it is a stirring collection of the lessons Professor Herz-Sommer has learned over her hundred-plus years on earth. It is astounding to me to read of her triumphs over her struggles, but even more so to read of her unfailing optimism and cheerful attitude. It’s also a testament to the resilience and power of the human will.

Since I can’t improve upon them, here are her own words:

“I love people. All kinds of people. I l
A biography whose title sums up in short who and what it's all about. A fairly swift read and given the subject matter quiet a light work. Alice (a gifted pianist in pre-war Europe) speaks through the author Catherine Stoessinger who fills also descibes Alice's life from a middle class childhood in Czechoslovakia, to the Nazi showpiece concentration camp of Theresienstadt (where a Nazi admirer of her talent promised ALice and her son would appear on no deportation list) , the freedom of the earl ...more
Holly Weiss
"I Never Give up Hope"

Encouraged by great musicians Gustav Mahler and Artur Schnabel and on the brink of a career as a pianist, Alice Herz-Sommer’s world crumbled in 1943. She, along with her husband and son, were deported to Theresienstadt. She survived the Holocaust and the loss of many family members and yet, celebrates life. Hers is a rich tapestry, woven with threads of hope, artistry, grace, courage and inspiration. The mystical, healing powers of music helped her transcend the horrors she
Mar 11, 2014 Jackie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this book. Unfortunately it didn't live up to its promise. While the reading was moderately interesting, there was nearly a complete lack of emotional involvement for me - even though it is clear that the author has a deep affection for her subject. Even the title felt misleading. I didn't think there were really any lessons shared, just some chapters lauding a person for her perseverance.

Alice lived an incredible life. Filled with amazing experiences, wonderful people and grea
Apr 02, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an account of the amazing life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest living Holocaust survivor. Alice is now 108 years old and still plays piano for a few hours every day and lives alone. Alice grew up in Prague and her family was friends with famous artists and philosophers like Franz Kafka and Sigmund Freud. Alice had a career as a brilliant pianist and traveled all over Europe playing. Alice married her husband Leopold and they had one son, Rafi, when they were deported for Th ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a woman who survived the Therezienstadt concentration camp with her young son and how she has led her life with an indomitable spirit afterward. Alice Herz-Sommer was already a concert pianist when the war started and Germany invaded her Czech homeland. The Terezien camp was considered a "model" camp for Hitler to parade before the International Red Cross. So arts were allowed to flourish, even as the artists were starving and diseased and sent by the thousands to Auschwitz ...more
Donna Jo Atwood
What an inspiring story! At 108 years old, Alice Herz-Sommer has learned the art of living well. This is a woman who has seen the tender, the tough, the sweet, and the bitter in life and yet she looks forward to new experiences and new days. She has a rich life with her music and her friends and delights in using her mind to the best of her abilities. Would that we were all so gifted.
What I learned from this book: If you want to live to be more than 100, eat very little and drink lots of hot water.
Jan 14, 2015 Herbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het boek gaat niet zo zeer over het concentratie kamp maar eerder hoe de liefde voor muziek al deze verschrikkingen en tegenslagen die Alice meemaakt overwint.
Een indrukwekkende vrouw met een indrukwekkend leven.
Jan 23, 2017 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil," observed Hannah Arendt, a political philosopher, who covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann. Alice agreed with Arendt that "there is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil."

Sara Sa
Jan 20, 2017 Sara Sa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really in love with Alice, she's a huge inspiration.

I think the book structure and writing could be better, but Alice's life philosophy and story make it a wonderful reading experience.
Nov 03, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2017 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
choppy. disjointed.
Cara Group

The story of Alice Herz-Sommer is told in the format of a song, which is most appropriate since she was an accomplished pianist both before and after her imprisonment at Theresienstadt.

What is most amazing is that, even though she was exposed to humanity at its worst, and also outlived both her husband and only son, she retained a love of people and a general joy that just jumps off the page. That is an approach that we would all do well to imitate - don't let any of life's hard
Dec 28, 2012 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book, being a pianist and a piano teacher myself. I read it in a little over a day and was so inspired by the life of Alice Herz-Sommer.

The book chronicles through vignettes and personal accounts the amazing life of Alice Herz-Sommer, a Czechoslavakian pianist and piano teacher who survived the concentration camp Theresienstadt during the Holocaust. She went on to live and teach in Israel for many years, and now at the age of 108 she lives in London and still practices
Yona Yurwit
Won in the First Reads giveaway.

I was disappointed by the book, mostly because it didn't give what the title promises: a century of wisdom.

At best, it gave a portion of a centurys vague aphorisms. There was also an insane ammount of name-dropping. I felt like I was reading a book with some Alice Herz-Sommer in it rather than a book ABOUT Alice Herz-Sommer. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that 50% of the book was talking about someone else, and as often as not I was unsure of ho
De titel van het boek wekt verwachtingen waaraan het boek uiteindelijk niet voldoet. Weinig over de periode van Alice Herz-Sommer in Theresienstadt, veel over contacten in de muziekwereld. Een hoog percentage van "uitmuntende" mensen.
Marko Cindrić
Nov 25, 2012 Marko Cindrić rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

''Ako Bog zaista postoji, morat će me tražiti za oprost''. Tako je nekako, ukoliko me pamćenje dobro služi, glasila poruka na zidu jednog poznatog koncentracijskog logora iz Drugog svjetskog rata. Pročitavši knjigu Stoljeće Mudrosti, zaključio sam da ju nikako nije mogla napisati Alice Herz-Sommer, najstarija živuća osoba koja je preživjela holokaust. Razlog je vrlo čudan, ljudskom poimanju gotovo neobjašnjiv. Jer ona o tim danima gotovo da i ne želi pričati, jer iz svih tih dana za sobom nije p
Jul 14, 2012 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
I both liked and was disappointed by this book. I think the title is misleading. Had they sent it out with a different title I may not have been disappointed. I picked it up, in part, because it was about the “world’s oldest Holocaust survivor” – if you’re looking for Holocaust survival stories, this book isn’t for you. I also picked it up because was titled “A Century of Wisdom” and was about a 108 year old woman – think of the history she’s seen! Alice Herz-Sommer is the oldest living survivor ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Estelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alice is a miracle of a human being. The parts about Theresienstadt were horrifying of of the most disturbing parts was the inside look at the way the Nazi's forced the prisoners to participate in a propaganda film. The horror of the Holocaust is just beyond words, sometimes reading about it is too much for me, but I know it is important to remember. I just had to take breaks when reading as it really got to me.
Astounding to me was learning that the prisoners produced and acted a c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
6DRAKE: Alice Herz-Sommer 1 4 Dec 10, 2013 07:58AM  
Music was our food 1 2 Mar 17, 2012 10:55PM  
Education and life experience 1 2 Mar 15, 2012 10:28PM  
  • A Garden of Eden in Hell: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer
  • Wicked History Of The World
  • Fireflies In The Dark: The Story Of Friedl Dicker Brandeis And The Children Of Terezin
  • Parky: My Autobiography
  • Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century
  • The House at Salvation Creek
  • Two Rings: A Story of Love and War
  • Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief
  • A Picture Book of Anne Frank
  • Unforgotten
  • Shanghai Diary
  • Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
  • Charles Dickens: A Critical Study
  • The German Aces Speak: World War II Through the Eyes of Four of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders
  • The Doll Shop Downstairs
  • Peter the Great
  • Not Even My Name: A True Story
  • Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People behind Everyday Words

Share This Book

“Every day is a miracle. No matter how bad my circumstances, I have the freedom to choose my attitude to life, even to find joy. Evil is not new. It is up to us how we deal with both good and bad.” 1 likes
“Every day is a miracle. No matter how bad my circumstances, I have the freedom to choose my attitude to life, even to find joy. Evil is not new. It is up to us how we deal with both good and bad. No” 0 likes
More quotes…