110-year-old subject of Oscar-nominated documentary dies in London

02.23.14 4 years ago

Here's some sad news with the Oscars just a week away. Alice Herz-Sommer, the 110-year-old subject of Best Documentary Short nominee “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” (and my pick to win the category), has left this mortal coil.

“Telling Alice's story was a life changing experience for everyone who worked on the film,” said the film's director Malcolm Clark. “Even as her energy slowly diminished, her bright spirit never faltered. Her life force was so strong we could never imagine her not being around. We are so proud to [have] been so fortunate to capture Alice's lessons for all the generations to come. We can all learn so much from this most amazing woman.”

The news was reported by Israeli newspaper YNET. Sommer, who was the oldest living Holocaust survivor, fell ill Thursday and spent two nights in the hospital before passing Sunday morning.

Related: Stories of survival, forgiveness and artistry highlight Oscar's documentary short subject race

When you watch the film, which is probably the most technically polished of the nominees (Clarke is a former winner in the category and former nominee in the documentary feature category as well), you can't imagine that Sommer was that old or, indeed, that she wouldn't be alive for plenty more years. She was full of life, and I'm sure she'll be missed by many. Her story is a powerful one, though, and lovely to have been captured in an Oscar-nominated, perhaps soon-to-be Oscar-winning, portrait.

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