On Sept. 26, Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor spoke at Zionsville United Methodist Church, conveying a message of forgiveness, peace and hope. Her 6:30 p.m. talk followed a similar talk at the ZCHS Performing Arts Center earlier that day, where students from seventh grade through 12th grade gathered to hear her story.
Kor and her twin sister Miriam Mozes Zieger were subjected to human experimentation at an Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The camp was run by Josef Mengele, a German officer and physician who performed deadly human experiments on prisoners and was particularly interested in identical twins. This ultimately saved the lives of Kor and her sister, though holding on to hope of rescue was hard.
“I could sense in every ounce of my existence that this could not go on much longer. That someday soon we would be freed and we could go home,” Kor said.
In 1945, Kor and her sister were rescued from Auschwitz by the Soviet Army.
“We were free, we were alive,” Kor said. “We had triumphed over evil.”
Kor, 84, travels the world giving speeches. She and Zieger founded CANDLES, Inc. in 1984 to locate other surviving Mengele twins. Kor later opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute in 1995 to educate the public about eugenics, the Holocaust, and the power of forgiveness.
She received international attention that same year when she met with former Nazi Dr. Hans Munch, who witnessed the gassing of thousands of innocent people at Auschwitz. At their meeting, she gave Munch a letter of forgiveness in return for his signing of a documentation of the gas chambers. Kor also issued a declaration of amnesty to all Nazis.
“All the pain from 50 years was lifted from my shoulders,” Kor said.
In 2017, Kor made a video publicly forgiving the Nazis for the horrific events they put her through.
“What I discovered for myself was life changing. I had the power to forgive,” Kor said. “Every single one of you here has that same power.”
At the end of the talk, Kor allowed audience members to ask her questions and then signed autographs of her book, “Surviving the Angel of Death”, in the church lobby.
She left attendees with words of encouragement and incentive to create positive change.
“I need all of you to help me spread the message of forgiveness throughout the world,” she said. “Every single one of you can do something to make the world better.”