An inspiring story of resilience and the power of optimism - the true story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest Holocaust survivor.
Alice Herz-Sommer, 1903-2014
The pianist Alice Herz-Sommer survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attended Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, and along the way befriended some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time, from Franz Kafka to Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein and Golda Meir.
A Century of Wisdom is her story: a testament to the bonds of friendship, the power of music and the importance of leading a life of maternal simplicity, intellectual curiosity, and never-ending optimism.
Caroline Stoessinger, a prominent pianist and artist-in-residence at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is the founder and director of The Mozart Academy of New York, which provides high quality classical music instruction at no cost to immigrant children who have limited access to such opportunities.
'A Century of Wisdom is a stately and elegant book about an artist who found deliverance in her passion for music. Caroline Stoessinger writes with a special purity, as though she were arranging pearls on a string of silk.' — Pat Conroy
'I have rarely read a Holocaust survivor's memoir as enriching and meaningful. Get Caroline Stoessinger's book, A Century of Wisdom, telling Alice Herz-Sommer's tale of her struggles and triumphs. You will feel rewarded.' — Elie Wiesel
'As one of millions who fell in love with Alice on YouTube, a 107-year-old Holocaust survivor who plays the piano and greets each day with no hint of bitterness, I'm grateful to Caroline Stoessinger for writing a book that explains this mystery. You will be inspired by the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived to teach us.' — Gloria Steinem
'I'd walked on the cobblestones in Prague for thirty years wondering who might have walked on them before me: Kafka, Freud, Mahler. It feels like a miracle to have encountered, in Caroline Stoessinger's wonderful book, Alice Herz-Sommer, who walked with them all - with a heart full of music.' — Peter Sis
'Caroline Stoessinger's celebration of music and life, the meaning and legacy of Alice Herz-Sommer's remarkable love-filled journey across the bitter hate-filled years of 20th-century madness is lyrical, compelling, and profoundly moving. This is an extraordinary, enchanting, entirely inspiring book - most timely and needed now.' — Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt
A sweetly affecting collection — Kirkus
'From countless hours and interviews conducted over the course of several years, she has mined a treasure trove of insight and reflection. Herz-Sommer's life is a tribute to the purity of artistic endeavor under the most devastating circumstances, and her refusal to be bitterly defined or essentially reshaped by tragedy is a testament to moral and spiritual courage. As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it becomes increasingly important to capture and communicate their individual stories.' — Booklist
'A Century of Wisdom is universal and will enrich readers for generations to come' — Itzhak Perlman