Nelly Nechama Ben-Or, also known as Nelly Ben-Or Clynes, was born in 1933 in Lwow in Poland. She is an international concert pianist and a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she has taught the piano and the Alexander Technique since 1975. She is also a Holocaust survivor.
Ben-Or is a Polish Jew. Her father was a travelling salesman for a manufacturer of fountain pens and pencils. The family were not particularly religious, and Ben-Or studied the piano at a young age. After World War II broke out in 1939, the Ben-Ors were forced by the Gestapo to leave their apartment and were moved to one room in an already crowded house occupied by other Jewish families. Ben-Or and her mother and sister were given false papers and taken out of the ghetto by a Jewish Czech doctor dressed as an SS officer. Before Ben-Or's father, too, could be rescued, he was taken to the notorious Janowski concentration camp, a former textiles factory in Janowska Street in Lvov and executed.