One week after she passed away, a film about the oldest survivor of the Holocaust on Sunday won an Oscar for best short documentary.
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” is a 38-minute film about the life of Alice Herz-Sommer and her use of music to survive the death camps.
The team who made the film, including producer Frederic Bohbot and director Malcolm Clarke, is based in Montreal, Canada.
Speaking to the Toronto Star newspaper on Monday, Bohbot credited Herz-Sommer’s optimistic outlook with winning over the Academy voters.
“Filmmakers, especially documentary filmmakers, are the most cynical people around, or can be,” he said.
Herz-Sommer died in London last Sunday at the age of 110. In 1943, the Nazis sent her and her young son to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where tens of thousands of people lost their lives.
Neither her husband Leopold nor her mother Sofie survived, but she and her son did.
In a text about her on the website of Nicholas Reed, another of the producers of the documentary about her life, she was quoted as saying she remained upbeat about life despite sensing she was coming to the end of it.
"I think I am in my last days, but it doesn't really matter because I have had such a beautiful life," she said.
"I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times - including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.
"Life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful. Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love," said Herz-Sommer.
Bohbot told the Toronto Star that despite her ordeal, Herz-Sommer “just had the most extraordinary perspective on life, on happiness, on existence. She had no hatred in her, no pessimism, no resentment toward anyone.”