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February 25, 2014 11:27 am
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Netanyahu Sends Condolence Letter to Ariel Sommer, Grandson of World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivor, Who Died Sunday

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Alice Herz-Sommer. Photo: nickreedent.com.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a condolence letter to Ariel Sommer, the grandson of Alice Herz-Sommer, who was the world’s oldest known Holocaust survivor before passing away on Sunday.

In the letter, Netanyahu said he was “saddened” to hear of Aliza’s passing. “She was well-known and the story of her life inspired many among our people,” he added.

He described her life in the context of 20th century Jewry: “The story of your grandmother’s life is the story of the life of our people in the last two generations.”

“Your grandmother was born at the start of the 20th century to a well-known Jewish family. She was educated in Prague and already at an early age was known for her musical ability. When she was deported along with her family to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, she managed to survive the death camp thanks to her playing the piano. With resourcefulness and dedication, she managed to save her son Rafi and together, they survived the camp until the end of World War II.”

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“Shortly after the end of the war, your grandmother came to Israel and made her home here. With her characteristic optimism, she began to teach at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she taught generations of young Israeli musicians who were privileged to study with this talented musician and great woman.”

“During her life, a smile was ever on her face. She received everyone graciously and always radiated warmth and love to others. Even in her later years, when she lived in London, many of her students in Israel kept in contact with her out of the respect and admiration that they felt towards her.”

“Dear Ariel, I support you at this difficult time. I have no doubt that as the son a Jewish and Zionist family, you will preserve Alice’s memory and pass her legacy on to the coming generations in your family. May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may there be no more sorrow.”

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