Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor has passed away at the age of 85. She was in Poland at the time of her passing, visiting the former Auschwitz concentration camp.
Her son, Alex Kor, was quoted on his mother’s Facebook page announcing her passing: “My mom would tell us not to cry, but follow in her footsteps.”
Kor, a resident of Terre Haute, opened Indiana’s only Holocaust museum in 1995. In 2003, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center burned to the ground after it was targetted by an arsonist. Kor’s loving community rallied to help rebuild the education center, which was able to reopen in 2005.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor, forgiveness advocate, and founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Eva passed peacefully today, July 4th, 2019, at 7:10am local time in Krakow, Poland on the annual CANDLES trip.
— CANDLES Museum (@candlesmuseum) July 4, 2019
Through CANDLES and her advocacy work, Kor was able to share her experiences growing up under the Nazi regime. The Holocaust took the lives of both her parents and two older sisters. Thankfully, at the age of 10, Kor and her twin sister survived medical experiments at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp by Dr. Josef Mengele and were able to escape.
Despite the torture she endured and losing her family, Kor spent her life teaching others to forgive.
Kor told the IndyStar in a 2017 interview, “I discovered I had one power. What I tell everybody is that you — any victim, any person hurt — you have the same power. You have the power to forgive. And what it does, forgiveness, has nothing to do with the perpetrator. It has everything to do with the way the victim feels.”
She was recently featured in the documentary “Eva: A-7063” by Ted Green. The film won 7 Regional Emmy awards, Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award, grand prize at the Rhode Island International Film Fest, winner at the Chagrin Documentary Film Fest, and winner at the Heartland International Film Fest.
Yesterday my staff from CANDLES drove to Katowice, Poland, & found the orphanage where I was sent after the war before Ms Csengeri took care of us. Can you believe the nuns wear bright blue head coverings as part of their habits? I will go on Fri to see it again after 74 years pic.twitter.com/6bQyR9RJL5
— Eva Mozes Kor (@EvaMozesKor) July 2, 2019
“The museum will go on sharing Eva’s legacy and her story,” Jessica McDonald, the Communications Coordinator for CANDLES, told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal in an email. “We will continue to education as many students, adults, and children as we can about her story, lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, and of the power each of us holds to heal our world.”
CANDLES released the following in a statement this morning on their website:
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor, forgiveness advocate, and founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Eva passed peacefully today, July 4th, 2019, at 7:10 a.m. local time in Krakow, Poland, on the annual CANDLES trip to Poland.
“Eva Kor has touched hundreds of thousands of people over her 85 years through her message of overcoming tragedy, finding forgiveness, and healing. Surviving the Holocaust at age 10 meant that Eva emerged from a childhood full of fear, loss, grief, and displacement. She and her twin sister, Miriam, were the sole survivors of her immediate family, losing two sisters, her mother, and father on the selection platform at Auschwitz. In addition, she and Miriam were put through the horrific and inhumane experiments by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. But rather than allowing the darkest moments of her life to define her, she moved forward headfirst into a life of purpose.
“Serving eight years in the Israeli army, Eva tried to create a new life for herself through learning a new trade and getting to know her fellow soldiers. After meeting another survivor and getting married, Eva moved from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Terre Haute, IN, where she spoke no English. Learning the language, raising two children, and working in real estate for 34 years, Eva tried to put her past behind her. But when the NBC special The Holocaust premiered, Eva realized the community finally had context for her tragic history. This newfound visibility and understanding led to a path filled with searching for Dr. Mengele’s files, speaking all over the world, helping individuals in search of their own healing, and founding a museum that continues to grow every year. Eva blazed trails for Holocaust education and brought the story of the Mengele twins and Dr. Mengele’s experiments into the international spotlight.
“The themes of Eva’s life are apparent. We can overcome hardship and tragedy. Forgiveness can help us to heal. And everyone has the power and responsibility to make this world a better place.
“We hope Eva’s story continues to change the lives of those who hear it for many years to come.”
McDonald also added to Liftable, “We have had an incredible outpouring of love, support, memories, and condolences from the public. We are grateful to everyone who has reached out to the museum and to Eva’s family. She touched the lives of millions of people around the world.”
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