Superintendent’s Corner: Holocaust survivor to tell story

On Monday, April 4, students in the fifth through 12th grades will have the unique opportunity to hear a survivor’s account of her experience as a young child in the infamous German death camp known as Auschwitz during World War II.

Mrs. Eva Kor will be coming to the Larry C. Banks Memorial Gymnasium to talk with our students about her experience as a member of the Mozes family living in Portz, Romania, and the ultimate capture and assignment to the death camp.

Eva lived with her father, Alexander, her mother, Jaffa, two older sisters, Edit and Aliz, and her twin sister, Miriam. In 1944, her family was sent to a regional center in Simleu, Silvaniei, and a few weeks later, transported by railway to Auschwitz.

Her family was placed on a “selection platform” upon arrival, and she never saw her parents or older sisters again.

Eva and Miriam became part of a group of children used for human testing in genetic experimentation under the direction of the infamous Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele. Approximately 1,500 sets of twin children were abused by the experimentation performed under Dr. Mengele’s supervision, and most of these children perished as a result.

Eva became deathly ill, but through great determination survived and helped her sister, Miriam, survive as well.

On Jan. 27, 1945, approximately 200 remaining children were found alive by the Soviet Army when Auschwitz was liberated. Most of these were from the Mengele Twins Experimentation Program, and Eva and Miriam were among the survivors.

Alone, and with only each other as family, they lived in three different refugee camps over the next nine months before returning to live with an aunt in Romania.

Now free from the German Nazis, Eva had to deal with the excesses of Communist rule in Romania.

She immigrated to Israel in 1950 and only then was able to feel free from the persecution of being Jewish in totalitarian governments.

Over the next 10 years, Eva received an education and attained the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Army. In 1960, she married another Holocaust survivor and an American citizen, Michael Kor, in Tel Aviv, Israel, and joined her husband in the United States.

In 1965, she became a U.S. citizen and the couple raised two children, Alex and Rina.

As a result of studying the Holocaust, Eva began to research what had happened to the other Holocaust surviving children. With the help of her sister, who was still living in Israel, they began to locate survivors of the Mengele experiments.

In 1984, she founded CANDLES, Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.

After 40 years, a reunion was held for six Mengele twins at Auschwitz. A mock trial was then held for Mengele in Jerusalem and more of the twin children who were now adults were located.

Ten years later, Eva returned to Auschwitz to personally and publicly forgive the Nazis for their crimes.

In 1995, she opened a small museum in Terre Haute which had been her home since 1960. Despite an arson fire in 2003, the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education has reopened.

Eva Kor travels and lectures on the Holocaust to the present day.

Providing the opportunity for our boys and girls to hear Eva Kor’s account of her life will be a unique learning opportunity.

Holocaust education is a required part of Indiana’s secondary curriculum, and hearing her special message of survival, as well as her forgiveness of her captors, will enrich our students beyond our ability to teach them without her. We are thankful that we are able to bring Ms. Kor to Nashville.

Members of our community are welcome to attend this presentation at 10 a.m. Monday, April 4.

We thank Ms. Kor for coming and wish her much good will for the work which she is doing on behalf of all survivors as well as those of us who are privileged to hear her story.

David Shaffer is superintendent of Brown County schools.