Eva Kor: Survival, Forgiveness, Moving On

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) – Eva Mozes Kor sat at a table as her Nazi torturers did telling a story of survival from the Holocaust to forgiving those who committed atrocities against Hebrews.

“Forgiveness is the best revenge because (perpetrator) has no power over you,” said Kor, who spent nine months in the infamous Auschwitz death camp.

More than 3,000 people filled Emens Auditorium on Thursday to hear Kor tell how she and her twin sister, Miriam, were the only survivors of their family who were slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II. She also gave a talk to Muncie middle schools students.

It was a crowd of community leaders, students and ordinary people who saw one of the last remaining survivors of Auschwitz where the Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of Hebrews, gypsies and others.

A group of Muncie residents led by musician Steve Robert brought Kor from Terre Haute where she has the CANDLES Holocaust Museum that illustrates the Holocaust and Kor’s later attempts to forgive the Nazis and their torture.

Robert said local foundations and others including physician George Branam helped fund the event, making free for the audience.

And he encouraged everyone to take time out of their life and help humanity and give to others in need.

Mayor Dennis Tyler offered his recognition, declaring the day in behalf of Kor, a staunch survivor and believer in hope.

Kor’s compelling story had dozens of people staying after the event to get signatures for her book and the documentary video, “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.”

Josef Mengele was the notorious medical doctor who experimented on children and adults and began genetic engineering to find a master race for Nazi Germany.

Kor recalled she and her sister were subjected to injections making them sick for medical experimentation and even death. She survived disease, and starvation before Auschwitz was liberated in 1945 by the Russian Army.

Recalling near death after Nazis tried to kill remaining survivors, Kor said she was overjoyed by the liberation, recalling how the Russians gave survivors chocolate and cookies.

That experience as child formed her belief that no other strip of land caused so many families to be torn apart.

Kor and her sister returned to Romania, but then went to Israel after the Communists took over. There she enlisted in the Army, later met another Holocaust survivor and went to Indiana where she had two children, Alex and Rina..

It was more than 20 years later that Kor reunited with her sister who stayed in Israel and then talked about the Holocaust. Kor met with a former Nazi doctor, Hans Munch, who knew Menegele, and made her public pronouncement of forgiving the Nazis after Munch denounced those who believed the Holocaust was a hoax.

“I wanted to thank him, but I did not know how to thank a Nazi doctor,” she said.

The lessons she learned from the ordeal was to never give up and survive while not forming prejudice like the Nazis did against Hebrews. Her examples of prejudice about the way youth look at themselves and their role models amused the crowd of mainly students.

“I don’t show my boobs or toush,” she said.

Her message of forgiveness and survival was the subject of many Facebook posts and Twitter tweets as some parents reluctant to have their children witness the horror of the Holocaust were later glad the story ended in hope.

Kor, now 80, plans to revisit her homeland of Romania this summer after making several trips to Germany to talk about the Holocaust. She also worked a few years ago to require Holocaust education in secondary schools and continues to lecture public schools and college campuses like she did this week.