I’ve seen the shooting range where bullet holes can still be seen, the wooden barracks where hundreds were crammed inside, where free people, tourist, now walk past, stopping at solitary confinements, the holes the condemned stayed where it is also cold in the summer, and pitch dark even in the afternoon.
I’ve also seen the pool where the officers swam and frolicked in the waters on hot days, while people on the other side of the brick wall died of starvation, illness, cruelty.
Terezin is also where Alice once played piano, as a 40 year old woman.
Terezin was the concentration camp where Jews were sent, separated from their families before being sent to death camps. They staged, at Terezin, a film for the Red Cross, to share with the rest of the world, one of the greatest lies, showing, “how well we take care of the Jews at Terezin,” to help dispel the rumors of poor treatment, cruelty and deaths against the Jews.
Alice’s love of music possibly saved her physical life while in the concentration camp, because she could entertain the Germans, and possibly her love of music continues to sustain her life at 109 years. She is the oldest living pianist in the world and also the oldest living holocaust survivor.
She is independent and lives alone in an apartment in London as, “The Lady in number six” where she continues to play her piano. She speaks of her genuine love of people and teaches us, through her warm eyes, her love of music, the art of gratitude for life, and it is through the profound truth of her words: “Every day in life is beautiful, every day is beautiful,” that we can witness her as being as close to a guru as the Dalai Lama himself.
It doesn’t take living through one of the greatest, most horrendous, crimes against humanity, to come to know a love of people, an appreciation for life, and deep joy, but Alice does serves as a guru, as a remover of darkness, as cited in the scriptures:
The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he (she) who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.
~ Advayataraka, Upanishad 14—18, verse 5
Alice is a guru of sorts, having lived through one of humanities most darkest moments in history, and yet she shines, even at 109, like a beacon for all of us to follow.
May we all shine on, as the Beatles sang, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun, may we shine on like dear Alice.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise