Life is beautiful. We are what we think. It might sound twee but it’s true. Today I am dedicating this post to the amazing joyous and inspirational Alice Herz-Sommer who passed away on February 23rd at the age of 110 in London.
Just one week before the documentary of her life ‘The Lady at Number 6, Music Saved My Life’, directed by Malcolm Clark, won the 2014 Oscar for best short documentary.
Alice was thought to be the last living survivor of the Holocaust. A talented pianist, she survived by playing concerts daily in the concentration camps of Terezin near her birthplace of Prague and Auschwitz.
It was not just her musical talents though that helped Alice survive with her 5 year old son Raphael, it was her spirit.
Her spirit of optimism, joy and forgiveness. Whilst living in the camp she lived a life of joy, always laughing and seeing the beauty in life.
Alice said that whilst they had no food to eat she didn’t feel hungry as she lived spiritually and that music became their food. When her son asked her why they had no food and what was a Jew? Alice said she could not answer him but how can a child not laugh (if you are laughing).
Alice believed the worst thing in life was people who thought they were bored. She said she was so thankful to be born optimistic and that her mother had installed in her and her siblings how important it was to learn in life and be thankful. Thankful for seeing the sun, a kind word, and that everything is a present.
Alice’s mother taught her to put something (positive) in her mind every day, so that nobody can take it from you.
Alice’s mother and father were both killed by the Nazi’s at Terezin but Alice still talked of her time there as a gift and that bad things happen and we forgive and learn from them.
‘HATRED EATS THE SOUL OF THE HATER NOT THE HATED’
Alice continued to play the piano every day of her life, for up to three hours. People would stop outside her London flat to enjoy her playing from the street.
Alice believed in the power of music claiming ,‘music saved my life and saves me still ‘ and ‘I am Jewish but Beethoven is my religion.’
For more information about the wonderful documentary, click here. I am very excited to see that Netflix has picked up the distribution rights, although it’s not yet available on the UK service.
Life is a gift.
Thank you for the reminder Alice, may your spirit live on.
LUNCH FOR ALICE
A delicious portable lunch of a medley of citrus based salads full of the wonderful flavours of lemon, orange and thyme.
makes 2-3 lunches
- 2 x 400g, 14oz, tins of chickpeas in water (preferably organic)
- 1 x tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 230g, 8oz, of asparagus spears
- Juice of 1 x small lemon
- 2 x table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 x tablespoon of parmesan cheese
- 35g, 1oz, of rocket (arugula)
- 450g, 16oz, of carrots
- 2 x cups, 200g, 7oz, of mixed chopped apricots, raisins, dried goji berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I bought a mixed bag in my local Co-op
- Juice of 1 x medium sized orange
- 2 x tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 x tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Roasted Thyme Chickpeas
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c, gas mark 4, 450f, coat the chickpeas in the oil and sprinkle over the thyme leaves and roast in the oven for approx. 40 mins then season with salt and pepper.
Lemon Parmesan Asparagus Spears
- Bring a pan of water to the boil. Break the asparagus stalks off at the bottom where they refuse to bend and only add the rest of the bendy spear to the boiling water and boil for 3-5 minutes. Rinse under cold water and put to one side.
- Mix the oil, lemon juice and parmesan into a dressing with a pinch of seal salt and pepper and mix half the dressing with the asparagus spears. You will use the remaining dressing on the rocket.
Lemon Rocket Salad
- Wash and dry the rocket (arugula) and dress with the remaining lemon and parmesan dressing.
Fruity Seedy Carrot Salad
- Peel and grate the carrots and mix with the seed and berry mix (you can use any variation of seeds and dried fruit you prefer). Dress with the mixed oil, red wine vinegar and orange juice mixed and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
Notes: These salads will keep well covered in a fridge for up to 2 days.