ALICE HERZ SOMMER RIP

One of the documentary shorts nominated for an Oscar this year is The Lady in Number 6. It tells the amazing story of Alice’s life as a pianist, mother, kind soul, and as the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor. She just died, age 110. (No, that is not a typo!)

Alice’s family was from Prague, and she, her husband Leopold Sommer, and their son Raphael were shipped to Theresienstadt in 1943. Leopold was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, where he died. Miraculously, Alice and Raphael survived, in large part due to her musical skill. As a member of the camp orchestra, she was permitted to live, as the Nazis needed their “showcase” camp to be “thriving” as a front for the atrocities and murders perpetrated elsewhere.

Once the war was over, Alice moved to Tel Aviv and then London. In an interview with The Guardian in 2006, she accounts her resisilience to this:  “My temperament. This optimism and this discipline. Punctually, at 10am, I am sitting there at the piano, with everything in order around me. For 30 years I have eaten the same, fish or chicken. Good soup, and this is all. I don’t drink, not tea, not coffee, not alcohol. Hot water. I walk a lot with terrible pains, but after 20 minutes it is much better. Sitting or lying is not good.

“I am looking for the nice things in life. I know about the bad things, but I look only for the good things.

The world is wonderful, it’s full of beauty and full of miracles. Our brain, the memory, how does it work? Not to speak of art and music … It is a miracle.”

This extraordinary woman lost most of her family and friends in the Holocaust, but her attitude toward life is one we should all strive for. I hope this film wins the Oscar, if only to serve her blessed memory with grace and love.

For more info about it: http://nickreedent.com/

KRISTALLNACHT OF THE SOUL

In a mind-boggling display of entitlement-drenched cluelessness, a venture capitalist named Thomas Perkins saw fit to pen a letter to the editors at the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?”

In further proof—as if you needed it—that sacks’o cash do not necessarily buy class, brains, compassion, or understanding, Thomas had the audacity to complain about how awful it is to be referred to as the “one percent,” and to (gasp!) have to pay taxes on his gold bars. Why, it’s just as awful as being a Jew in Germany, about to be exterminated! 

“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,'” wrote Mr. Greedy Guts. “From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these ‘techno geeks’ can pay….This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

Wow! Some middle fingers have been wagged at the smarmy mugs of spoiled, overpaid techno-brats on their free busses to work—just like hard labor at Bergen-Belsen!

Wow! Some spoiled, overpaid techno-brats have pushed the middle class out of the neighborhoods they’ve lived in all their lives—just like being herded into the Warsaw Ghetto to die of starvation!

Wow! Some spoiled, overpaid venture capitalist looks out at all those horrible poor people standing in line for a free meal because greedy pigs like him have closed their factories—just like having your business smashed to smithereens and being told you’re vermin before being shot by the Gestapo!

Thomas Perkins, please, go off in one of your private jets to one of your mega-mansions and lick your horrible, painful, life-changing, soul-sucking wounds in private. While you’re moaning about the savage public reaction to your disgusting paean of selfishness and greed, perhaps you might consider a more suitable means of disposing of your fortune.

To, perhaps, the survivors of the Holocaust.