Emens auditorium filled to standing room with people all there to hear one
woman speak about her hardships and how she overcame them but most importantly how she
was able to forgive. Eva Kor and her twin sister Miriam, born in 1934, spent their early life
living on their family farm in Romania living in constant fear of the growing Nazi power and
invasion. In 1940 Nazi troops moved in and seized the area. After 4 years of living under Nazi
occupation Eva and her family were sent to live in a regional ghetto and soon after shipped to
Auschwitz the girls were 10 years old. In the crowded confusion on the selection platform Eva
lost track of her father and two older sisters, she would never see them again. Still with her
mother and twin they stood and waited afraid and unsure what to do her mother held the twins
tight to her until a soldiers came to collect twins and had to pry the girls from her they would
also never see her again. Though she did not understand it at the time Eva lost all of her family
except for her sister on that day.
Being twins had saved them from death that day but as twins at Auschwitz the girls were
used in experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death. The
tests caused Eva to become deathly ill but, knowing that if she passed that Mengele would also
kill her sister to perform an autopsy on both bodies for comparison, she willed herself to struggle
on and live. In early 1945, after the girls had been subjected to 9 months of imprisonment and
experiments, the Soviet Army liberated the camp. The girls were freed from captivity but now
faced the world without the family they came with.
Over the next five years Eva struggled to find a new home. Romania, now under
communist rule, no longer felt familiar to her and she immigrated to Israel where she met who
was to become her husband and eventually moved to the US with him leaving Miriam behind.
Later in her life Miriam would have health latent health complications as a result from
the experiments at Auschwitz. Looking desperately for any information that could help her
sister Eva got in contact with a doctor that was at Auschwitz but was not involved with the
experiments unfortunately he was unable to help because of the secrecy that Mengele had kept.
Eva began to grow closer with the doctor and trust him more even going so far as to forgive him.
This raised the question from others close to her: would she be able to forgive Dr. Mengele and
the other Nazis? After struggling with this Eva realized that carrying around hate, even for those
who have hurt you and the ones you love can only keep your enemies alive and cause more pain.
With that she decided to, while always keeping her family in her memories and heart, release the
anger she had been carrying with her and forgive Dr. Mengele and all the Nazis for their crimes
and pain they caused her.
I find her story incredibly powerful because while it takes great strength to get through
the pains and struggles in her life and will herself to live, it takes even more to forgive those who
have caused that pain.