Holocaust survivor, peace advocate and MTSU guest speaker Eva Kor passes away


Photo courtesy of the Tribune-Star

Eva Mozes Kor, a survivor of the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, a former prisoner of Auschwitz and an advocate for forgiveness, passed away peacefully Thursday during a trip to the Holocaust site.

She was 85 years old.

Kor, born in Port, Romania, was the founder of the Candles Museum in Indiana and devoted her life to Holocaust awareness. She was a frequent speaker at MTSU, where she would share her story and her life’s wisdom.

 

The Auschwitz Museum also expressed their sadness at her passing.

In her final video of her last visit to the Auschwitz Museum, Kor wrapped up her life’s work in a simple quote: “Forgive your worst enemies.”

At her last address at MTSU in October, Kor said “When you are a victim, there is a hidden desire that someday you will be more powerful than your perpetrator. I did not understand it until I forgave Mengele and the Nazis. By forgiving them, I became more powerful that what they did to me.”

In 2015, Kore testified in the trial of former SS Officer Oskar Groening, the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” who was accused on 300,000 counts of being an “accessory to murder” of the imprisoned Jews.

During the trial, Kor described in detail her experiences at the hands of Mengele, who had a cruel fascination for twins.

She and her identical twin sister, Miriam, were both 10 years old at the time and endured countless medical tests, mystery injections from the “Blood Lab” and frequent injections of poison from Mengele, who was dubbed the “Angel of Death.”

Kor recalled how, after she once fell ill, she attempted to hide her fever so Mengele would not murder Miriam to perform a comparative autopsy. She was discovered, however, and she remembered seeing Mengele standing at her bedside, “laugh sarcastically”.

“Too bad, she’s so young. She has only two weeks to live,” she remembered him saying.

After crawling across the floor because she was unable to walk, Kor said she found her sister, who had been injected with a mystery substance to freeze the growth of her kidneys.

“If I had died, Miriam would have been killed with an injection in the heart. Mengele would have performed (that) comparative autopsy,” she said.

The sisters were determined to live, and during the remaining few months were both subjected to experiments that they were left unable to talk about until 40 years after their liberation in 1945.

“They had smiles on their faces. They gave us chocolate, cookies and hugs. That was our first taste of freedom,” Kor said of the Russian soldiers that helped free them.

They later found that they were the only surviving members of their family. Nonetheless, Kor and her sister dedicated the rest of their lives to speaking of forgiveness and peace.

Miriam passed away in 1993.

As one of the few remaining survivors of Mengele’s torture, Kor travelled extensively and made multiple stops at MTSU, always met with an awed crowd. At her last visit, Kor imparted four life lessons for students:

  • Never give up.
  • Prejudice is equal to hatred.
  • One should never give in to prejudice.
  • Forgiveness will heal and set the soul free, and plant seeds of peace to make the world better.

Kor will be remembered for her bravery and her hope for a better world. May MTSU students make her proud.

To contact Editor-in-Chief Angele Latham, email editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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