for more than 50 years, 92-year-old Cornelia Wertenstein gives lessons on the piano at his home in Denver. Every week, throughout all these years, to her door fit a crowd of kids with books in their hands. For an hour they are doing on the piano that miss Wertenstein and her ex-husband, who survived the Holocaust in Romania, bought for $ 600 in 1965. COVID-19 put an end to these visits. But the old teacher did not allow children to discontinue lessons, bought a tablet and every day he teaches applied.

her Friends call her Nellie, but most students and parents prefer “Dr. Wertenstein,” referring to its degree and somewhat formal manners. Cornelia is teaching piano at age 14. Since then, when hunger forced to seek work in war-torn Romania. Now she has about 30 students aged 6 to 17 years. Usually they come in the house on Fairfax Street, one by one. Some come at 6:30 in the morning, some at 7 PM, even on weekends.

When the coronavirus had spread to Denver, most people are stuck at home. Especially pensioners. So an elderly teacher suddenly left alone. The money saved she ordered a iPad delivered to your house, asked the neighbors to establish contact and began to call the disciples on FaceTime smoothly during the scheduled activity.

“the Guys know that when she calls Dr. Wertenstein, they have to sit at the piano with the finished books, pencil and warmed hands,” says Yvette Frampton, mother of three students miss Wertenstein.

the Children know almost nothing about her past. Neither of the yellow star (a distinctive sign which Jews were compelled to wear by order of the Nazis during the Holocaust. – I. N.), which she had worn as a teenager during the war, nor of the scored stones the brothers, nor about the dead parents. “It pains me to say this. And why tell children such sad stories?”, says Bartenstein.

One day she made an exception for journalists and slightly opened the wounded past. Nellie young was a child Prodigy of the piano. At the age of 5, she was spotted dear Romanian master Florice Musicescu and absolutely free pass on their knowledge. Sometimes secretly and under threat of his own life. During the war years the girl has lost all the loved ones: parents, killed in a concentration camp, the brothers, filled with stones, and his teacher. Only in 1963, she managed to escape to America with her husband Mathieu and little daughter Mariana.

“I can’t forget the moment when from the boat, we saw the statue of Liberty – she says in her first and only interview. – I am unable to give you this. You just can’t understand this feeling… We shouted for joy!”

the couple divorced after 30 years of marriage, but remained close friends, often call up and supported each other. SPUSTA two weeks after the announcement of quarantine at Mathieu’s heart stopped. It occurred exactly 7 days before the scheduled spring concert, which miss Wertenstein told him the day before. “I really hate to say it, but the show must go on…so sorry that I have not seen the last of him. The funeral was a virtual”.

Following my own advice, 92-year-old teacher asked those same neighbors to set its Zoom, sent to students in the program of the concert that they had rehearsed for months, and recorded a welcome speech for online viewers.

“With great pride I present to you his disciples who diligently and responsibly studied, despite the circumstances,” she said from the screen. “When I was a little girl, I couldn’t go to public school because of their religion. I was adopted by a great master. He gave the knowledge, warmth, and taught it to aspire to the dream. Even in that moment, she seemed to me completely unreal.”

Children especially put on your best clothes, cleaned the room, adjusted the lighting and sent an invitation in the Zoom conference relatives. Students played Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Schubert and Debussy. Virtual concert in a live broadcast watched by more than 500 people. But only one window was not pictures.

Miss Wertenstein watched, listened, but did not include a camera. She didn’t want her students were distracted by the expression on her face. “I’m really nervous when they play and don’t want them to think of me at this moment. Let them be free and learn to cope with any situation and with themselves,” she says.

Which they did. When the concert ended, Dr. Wertenstein congratulated the students. She hopes that will soon see them in your living room and will definitely have a party with donuts. And while it doesn’t ring, 92-year-old teacher continues every day to work with children on the Internet. “Do you think that some sort of pandemic is gonna stop me?”