Eva Kor, Internationally Known Holocaust Survivor,
Human Rights Advocate, and Author, Dies in Poland
Eva Kor, an internationally known Holocaust survivor, human rights advocate, author of Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz, and subject of the Eva: A-7063 documentary, died last Thursday in Krakow, Poland, where she was leading her annual group trip to Auschwitz.
Peggy Porter-Tierney, President of Tanglewood Publishing, made this statement, “Eva Kor will be remembered for her fierce tenacity, her sense of humor, her fondness of blue pantsuits, and the magnitude of her generosity to everyone around her. But her greatest legacy is in the millions of lives she transformed, particularly young people, with her message of hope and healing. Eva ended lectures with her classic statement: ‘Forgive your worst enemies—it will heal your soul and set you free. Forgiveness is a seed for peace. Anger is a seed for war.’ Literally to her dying day, she encouraged people to choose peace. Though she is no longer here in body, may her spirit live on in our work of continuing to tell her story and share her message.”
Eva was 10 years old when she and her family were deported to Auschwitz where she was put under the care of Josef Mengele. In her middle age, she drew national attention as she led a push on governments to search for and punish Josef Mengele and other Nazis. She created the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, where she dedicated herself to educating people about the Holocaust, while also giving speeches and lectures national and internationally. In 2003, the museum was firebombed, but she formed a nonprofit and raised the money to rebuild a larger museum with a constantly growing stream of visitors.
Eva was most well known for her controversial decision to forgive the Nazis in 1995, making a public statement at Auschwitz on the 50th anniversary of liberation with her children, Alex and Rina, and a former Nazi doctor by her side. Eva viewed her forgiveness as an individual act of self-healing by letting go of her anger and pain, and regaining power over her life.
In 2009, her book, Surviving the Angel of Death, was published by Tanglewood and is currently sold in fifteen countries and seven languages. The book is also being used in classrooms across the U.S.
Eva has been regularly featured in international news stories and social media. One story resulted from controversy over a hug between Eva and Oskar Groening, a former Nazi doctor who worked at Auschwitz. Millions more people worldwide came to know Eva and her story through a BuzzFeed interview posted on its Facebook page in 2017, with over 200 million views.
Most recently, the documentary created by Ted Green Films and WFYI was shown on PBS stations across the country in April and May of this year, winning awards in multiple film festivals and seven categories in the regional Emmys. The film, showing the struggles Eva faced throughout her life, changed the minds of many who had been critical of her decision to forgive the Nazis.
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