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Everything is a Present: The Wonder & Grace of Alice Sommer Hertz (2010)

Alice Sommer Herz , Gigi Sommer , Christopher Nupen  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Everything is a Present: The Wonder & Grace of Alice Sommer Hertz + A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor + Alice's Piano: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer
Price for all three: $56.38

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alice Sommer Herz, Gigi Sommer
  • Directors: Christopher Nupen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Christopher Nupen Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 54 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00361DR8C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,057 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

How many people remain in good shape, both mentally and physically, at the age of 106? The answer, of course, is very few but, as I write this on her 106th birthday, Alice Sommer Herz is among those exceptional few.
And how many have the gift of forgiveness? And how many are free of hatred? Gigi Sommer has both of
those qualities. I have never met anyone else with her depth of perception and natural wisdom.
She was imprisoned, with her six-year-old son, in the Theresienstadt concentration camp and saw
unspeakable atrocities. She lost both her mother and her husband in Nazi death camps but she does not hate
her persecutors. That is not because they are anything other than monstrous criminals but because she has the wisdom to know that all hatred hurts the soul of the hater, not the hated and Gigi Sommer's inspiring
soul is among the things which she has kept intact and unblemished through her hundred and six years.
She was a pianist of distinction, played more than 100 concerts in the Theresienstadt camp and
is in no doubt that music saved both her sanity and her life and the lives of many others in those unimaginable circumstances. She elaborates on this theme in the film. -- Christopher Nupen

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything is indeed a present! May 13, 2010
Format:DVD
I have to admit that I watched the film "Alice Sommer Herz: Everything Is A Present" a little over a month ago. I haven't been able to bring myself to write anything about it until now. I didn't know much about her other than the fact that she was a very well respected and highly regarded pianist. I would come to know that she was a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp where she lost her entire family other than her young son and her sister.

This remarkable woman lived to the wonderful age of 106. She would say that she lived so long not despite the brutality and inhumanity that many evil people had showed her. She would say that she lived so long because of it. The beauty in her life was not only that she had music as her main driving force, but that she chose forgiveness in lieu of vengeance. Peace instead of violence.

In the concentration camp the Nazis took Ms. Herz and a number of other prisoners who were talented musicians and forced them to perform for German dignitaries. Over her years in the concentration camp she performed well over one hundred concerts. Through these performances she was able to find the beauty in the music and transcend above the horrors occurring around her every day. She brought a light of joy to herself, her fellow prisoners and their captors alike.

How she found the capacity to forgive is a very difficult concept to understand. But she remarks in the film that hatred and revenge can only harm your self. They do nothing to the hated. It certainly does make a lot of sense when you take time to think about it. If only the rest of us could see the world through Gigi's eyes for a little while. Maybe we would be in a much better place.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Uplifting Film July 17, 2011
Format:DVD
When some of the footage for this film was recorded, Alice Sommer Herz was 98 years of age - and still possessed of her faculties and memories. And she still has the ability to play piano! Alice has had a more than eventful life. She was imprisoned, along with her six-year old son, in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and gave numerous concerts there. Her recollections are quite vivid, and viewed through the lens of a long life. She has witnessed things no human being should ever see, and talks about being sustained by music and the ability to play.

She seems remarkably free of negativity. She is a very well-balanced optimist. The film definitely communicates the quality of individual that she is. There are several excerpts of her playing the piano, her aged hands caressing the keys and playing music of Smetana and Beethoven -- and it is wonderful to see and hear. And her stories are worthy of being heard. It is difficult to describe how uplifting it is to watch this film.

When I first got this DVD, I must admit I had a slight sense of trepidation, not being exactly sure what state Alice would be in during the film. But it is without a doubt worthy of spending time with. Would that there were more people like Alice to interact with. Get this and share it with close friends. They will thank you for it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! January 19, 2014
By diane
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
THis video should be required watching by all high school students and facility in my humble
opinion. Her views on music and how it saved her during the holocaust are incredible to listen
to and watch. What a remarkable woman and god bless her!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should watch this December 13, 2012
Format:DVD
the content so outweighs anything in my opinion - everyone should watch it.
comes with informative booklet too - well worth the price
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem! May 6, 2014
By Philos
Format:DVD
Amazing anyone could call this "boring." Why want more testimony about "life in the ghetto" or camp when there is such an abundance of it but so little about those who found a way to lift themselves above the the Nazi horrors. Alice Sommer Hertz was gifted by God to be a blessing to others with who & what she was - one of the very few who walked as a "light" in the world. I knew one such person in childhood (who died tragically young). I very much pity the person who finds this wonderfully uplifting film "boring." I love classical music, took piano lessons in it while I was young & now am sorry I didn't value it properly & the talent I had for it. This film is a real treasure - certainly worth 5 stars!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heart grabbing portrait. June 9, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
You won't be able to stop with this DVD. Alice Hertz Sommer was a world class remarkable person and after watching this you will want to research everything about her. When I watched this, I had already read "Alice's Piano" which is her full story. I had watched, "The Lady in Number Six," the award winning short about her. "Everything is a Present," added depth and richness to the layers of this remarkable woman. I was deeply inspired by her life-long choice to make everything that came her way a present. As an undisciplined pianist, I've been inspired to get back to the classics and their soul stirring beauty. I can only say thank you to this woman for the impact she has had on my life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Positive April 29, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It was very good. I used it for a music appreciation class at an an assisted living home and it sparked a great conversation about their memories of that time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alice Sommer Herz April 19, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A magnificent woman and a remarkable pianist. This woman's life is an inspiration to everyone. What a joy to learn whatever possible of this survivor.
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