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This post is not a parody song lyric but is an original poem dedicated to the memory of Alice Herz-Sommer who passed away on Sunday, February 23, 2014.   She was 110 years old having been born on  November 1903.  A Czech pianist and music teacher, she had been deported from Prague along with her husband and son to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and later to the death camp, Auschwitz..  At Theresienstadt, she participated in staged concerts the Germans allowed to be put on as part of a strategy to deceived the Red Cross and West about conditions in the camps.  She and her son were liberated by the Russians in 1945.  I wrote this poem after a Miami Herald article in 2010 reported her to have said the music of Chopin saved her life.  A documentary film about her life, “The Lady in Number 6; Music Saved My Life,” has been nominated for an academy award.


My fingers seem ignorant of the pain
Dancing over the notes
The lovely notes of
Chopin’s etudes

Did he know they would keep me alive?
Did he foresee the need to ward off the dread?
No, he could not have
His soul was pure

They were not, and
Did not feel the tie
Of beauty to life
Of that I am sure

They broke my bones
Trying to humiliate me
With fear from the stench
Of the dead

And they would have succeeded
But for the notes
Eternal notes
They could not burn from my head

© 2010 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved


  1. A lovely tribute to one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever come across. Here is a post that I wrote about her last December – my 111th post, dedicated to her. enjoy 🙂

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