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Eva Mozes Kor
Kor in April 2016
January 31, 1934
|Died||July 4, 2019 (aged 85)|
|Residence||Terre Haute, Indiana, United States|
|Known for||Founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center|
Documentary Forgiving Dr. Mengele
Eva Mozes Kor (January 31, 1934 – July 4, 2019) was a Romanian-born survivor of the Holocaust. Along with her twin sister Miriam, Kor was subjected to human experimentation under the direction of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during World War II. She lost both of her parents and two older sisters to the Holocaust; only she and Miriam survived. Kor founded the organization CANDLES (an acronym for "Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors") in 1984 and through this program located 122 other survivors of Mengele.
In 1984, Kor founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center to educate the public about eugenics, the Holocaust, and the power of forgiveness. Kor received international attention when she publicly forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her. This story was later explored in the 2006 documentary Forgiving Dr. Mengele. She authored or co-authored six books, and took part in numerous memorial services and projects.
Eva Mozes was born in 1934 in Porţ, Romania, to Alexander and Jaffa Mozes, farmers who were the only Jewish residents in the area. She had three siblings named Edit, Aliz, and her twin sister Miriam.
In 1940, when Eva and Miriam were five, a Hungarian armed guard occupied their village. In 1944, the family was transported to the regional ghetto at Cehei in Şimleu Silvaniei. During their time at the ghetto, the family had no housing but had to make tents out of sheets. A few weeks later they were transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Their family, along with others from the ghetto, were sent to the gas chambers but because Eva and Miriam were twins, they were selected to be part of a group of children used in experiments under the direction of Josef Mengele. Approximately 1500 sets of twins were subjected to these experiments, with most dying as a result. Eva herself became very ill, but she lived and helped Miriam survive.
Time at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Eva Mozes Kor and her family were deported from the Cehei ghetto to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in March 1944.
When the family got off the train, a German SS officer approached Eva’s mother demanding to know if Eva and Miriam were twins. She said yes. The officer then took the twins despite their protests. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Kor said that the last time she saw her mother, her arms were stretched out in despair as she was pulled away. Kor said, "I never even got to say goodbye to her. But I didn't really understand that this would be the last time we would see her."
The twins spent the next 10 months in this camp until their rescue. In her documentary Forgiving Dr. Mengele, Kor mentions that she was part of two experiments. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the Nazi doctors would put her and her twin, and many other twins, naked in a room for 6 to 8 hours and then measure every part of her body, compare the two twins and then compare it to previous charts. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the doctors would take Eva to a blood lab and tie both of her arms to restrict blood flow, then take a lot of blood from the left arm and give her a minimum of five injections with unknown contents in the right arm. After one of the injections, she became very ill with a very high fever and her legs and arms were swollen and painful; she was trembling as the August sun burned her skin and she had huge red spots covering her body. One day when she was taken to Dr. Mengele, he checked her fever instead of taking her measurements. She was immediately taken to the hospital barrack. Kor said she had only one clear memory of the two weeks she spent there: crawling on the barrack floor (no longer able to walk) to reach a faucet with water at the other end of the barrack. As she was crawling, she faded in and out of consciousness, telling herself, "I must survive, I must survive". After those two weeks, her fever broke and she was returned to her sister three weeks later.
The Soviet Army liberated the camp on January 12, 1945. Found alive were approximately 180 children, most of whom were twins. They were first sent to a convent in Katowice, Poland, which was being used as an orphanage. By searching a nearby displaced person's camp, Eva and Miriam located Rosalita Csengeri, a friend of their mother who also had twin daughters used by Mengele. Csengeri took responsibility for Eva and Miriam, helping them return to Romania after liberation.
Later in life, Eva suffered numerous miscarriages as a result of her treatment in the camp. When she did have a child, she developed cancer. She also developed tuberculosis. Miriam had kidney problems because her kidneys never fully developed. Eva gave one of her kidneys to Miriam, saying: "I have one sister and two kidneys". Miriam died in 1993 of kidney cancer.
After the war, Eva and Miriam lived in Cluj, Romania, with their Aunt Irena (also a survivor) where they went to school and attempted to recover from their experiences at Auschwitz and adjust to life under Communist rule. In 1950, at age 16, they both received permission to leave Romania and immigrated to Israel, arriving in the port city of Haifa. They both served in the Israeli army. Eva attended an agricultural school and Miriam studied drafting. Eva became a nurse and attained the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Army Engineering Corps.
In 1960, Eva married Michael Kor, an American citizen and a fellow Holocaust survivor, and she joined him in the United States. In 1965, Eva Kor became a US citizen. In 1978, after NBC's miniseries The Holocaust aired, she and Miriam, who was still living in Israel, began locating other survivors of the experiments. In 1984, Eva founded CANDLES.
She remained active by giving lectures and guided tours. She has returned to Auschwitz on numerous occasions, often accompanied by friends and members of the community. This pilgrimage took place each summer.
In 2007, Kor worked with Indiana state legislators Clyde Kersey and Tim Skinner to gain passage of a law requiring Holocaust education in secondary schools. She was featured in the January 2015 CNN documentary "Voices of Auschwitz" and CNN's "Incredible survivors" in 2016.
In April 2015, she traveled to Germany to testify in the trial of former Nazi Oskar Gröning. During this trial, Kor and Gröning shared an embrace and a kiss, with Kor thanking Gröning for his willingness, at age 93, to testify as to what happened more than 70 years ago. On January 23, 2016, Kor became the focus of a new documentary out of Britain by Channel 4 titled The Girl Who Forgave the Nazis. This explores the meeting between Kor and Groening.
In 2016, Kor traveled to Los Angeles, California, to be one of 13 Holocaust survivors immortalized using the latest technology in the University of Southern California's New Dimensions in Testimony Project. The project is a collaborative effort between the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, USC Shoah Foundation and Conscience Display.
Kor came to the realization as an adult that in order for her to heal, she must forgive those people who did horrible things to her in the camps. She spent months writing letters to those who hurt her. She even wrote one to "The Angel of Death". These were very hard for her to write but through this she felt she became a happier and healthier person. Not everyone has agreed with her decision to forgive the Third Reich but she felt it was best for her and the right thing to do.
On July 4, 2019, Kor died while in Kraków, Poland, accompanying a CANDLES group on an educational trip to Auschwitz. She was 85 years old. She made the trip annually to share her childhood experiences and give tours from her perspective as a survivor.
Kor has been recognised by four Indiana governors: twice with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, once with Indiana's Distinguished Hoosier Award, and once in 2017 with the Sachem Award, the highest honour of the state of Indiana. In April 2017, Kor was also named the Grand Marshal of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.
In May 2015, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She also received the 2015 Wabash Valley Women of Influence Award, sponsored by the United Way of the Wabash Valley, the 2015 Anne Frank Change the World Award from the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise, Idaho, and the 2015 Mike Vogel Humanitarian Award, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Kor was honored at the 24th Annual ADL in Concert Against Hate on November 8, 2018 for "resilience, compassion, and love in the face of hatred and violence."
She received over 30 awards including:
- April 2017: Sachem Award by Governor Eric Holcomb
- April 2016: Make a difference award from WTHI-TV
- April 2016: Daughters of WWII, The Bush Institute
- November 2015: Honorary Eagle, Florida Gulf Coast University,
- 2015: Mid-America Regional Emmy, Forgiving the Nazis: Life Lessons from the Holocaust
- 2015: Indiana Heros Award, Indiana Wesleyan University,
- 2015: Anne Frank Change the World Award
- 2015: The Mike Vogel Humanitarian Award
- 2015: Femme a'l'honneur Prix du Pardon
- April 2015: United Way of the Wabash Valley Woman of Influence
- March 2014: Community Global Engagement Award, Indiana State University
- May 2013: Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Mike Pence,
- May 2013: Honorary Doctor of Public Service, Christian Theological Seminary
- November 2012: Distinguished Who's Who Award
- February 2012: Ambassador of Goodwill, Arkansas Traveler
- June 2010: Education Outreach and Service Award
- August 2008: Forgiveness Hero Award, Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance
- May 2008: Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College
- 2006: Hoosier Heros Award by Indiana Dollars for Scholars
- November 2005: Keeper of the Light, a Woman Torch Bearer Award
- January 2005: Sagamore of the Wabas by Governoer Joe Kernan
- April 2004: Americanism Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution
- January 2004: Gilbault Excellence Award Education Sectors
- 1995: Woman of Valor by the Terrre Haute Jewish Community
- 1990: Emmy Award (regional) for co-producing the video, "CANDLES"
- 1985: Jewish Activism Award by News and View a Jewish radio station in New York
- 1985: News Woman of the Year voted by the Israeli Press.
- Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The Story of Eva and Miriam Mozes (1995) with Mary Wright — ISBN 978-0-9643807-6-9
- Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz (2009) with Lisa Rojany Buccieri — ISBN 1-933718-28-5
- Little Eva & Miriam in First Grade (1994) Eva Mozes Kor - OCLC 33324155
- Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2006) First Run Features - Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh
- Die Macht Des Vergebens (2016) with Guido Eckert - ISBN 978-3-7109-0011-2
- "Nazi Experiments as Viewed by a Survivor of Mengele's Experiments" (1992) in When Medicine Went Mad: Bioethics and the Holocaust by Arthur Caplan - ISBN 978-1461267515
- "History of CANDLES". CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Archived from the original on 7 December 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "Draft Report on" (PDF). Yadvashem.org. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Budanovic, Nikola. "Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor and a Mengele twin, chose to forgive the Nazis". the Vintage News. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- Bülow, Louis Bülow. "Eva and Miriam". Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Forgiving Doctor Mengele". Vimeo. First Run Features. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- "Liberation of Auschwitz". Ushmm.org. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "Byliśmy obiektami jednorazowego użytku. Jak w Auschwitz eksperymentowano na bliźniętach". Newsweek.pl.
- Johnson, Craig E. (February 28, 2011). "Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light Or Shadow". SAGE Publications – via Google Books.
- "Auschwitz Memories: 'I Refused To Die'". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- BOYLE, JOHN. "Hoosiers share their memories of Eva Kor". News and Tribune.
- "Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate Eva Mozes Kor dies at 85". CGS News. CBS News. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- "Gould, Asner lend names to cause of local museum". Terre Haute Tribune Star. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "CANDLES: Shining a light on the Holocaust and Eva Kor. Illuminating the world with hope, healing, respect, and responsibility". Candlesholocaustmuseum.org. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "Oh, Four Oh Four". Idsnews.com. Archived from the original on 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "CNN Special Report: Blitzer to Host "Voices of Auschwitz" Jan. 27 at 9 pm ET – CNN Press Room – CNN.com Blogs". Cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Dominique Mosbergen (2015-04-27). "Former Nazi Guard Oskar Groening Kisses Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor During His Trial". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "TV Pick of the Day: The Girl Who Forgave the Nazis (Channel 4), January 23". Western Morning News. 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2016-05-27.[permanent dead link]
- "New Dimensions in Testimony on Display at USHMM". 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
- "Eva Kor Documentary by Ted Green, Mika Brown and WFYI". The Story of Eva.
- "Why forgiveness is the best revenge of all". The Times. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- report, Tribune-Star staff. "Holocaust survivor, forgiveness activist Eva Kor dies at 85". Terre Haute Tribune-Star. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
- "Last Word - Eva Kor, Christopher Booker, João Gilberto, John McCririck - BBC Sounds". www.bbc.co.uk.
- Trigg, Lisa (2015-04-10). "Eva Kor | Features". Tribstar.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Midwest Communications Inc. "Kohr Honoured With The Sachem Award | News | WIBQ". Wibqam.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
- "Eva Kor named grand marshal of 500 Festival parade". Indianapolis Star.
- "Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor Headlines Moving Butler Commencement Focused On Forgiveness And Service". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "Wabash Valley 2015 Women of Influence". Uwwv.org. 2015-04-09. Archived from the original on 2016-05-09. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Hagadone, Zach. "Change Your World Celebration | Friday, Sept. 18 | Culture". Boise Weekly. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- "ADL In Concert Against Hate". 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
- "Awards". candlesholocaustmuseum.org.
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