Rocky Erickson’s tribute to Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor, forgiveness advocate, and founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Eva passed peacefully today, July 4th, 2019, at 7:10am local time in Krakow, Poland on the annual CANDLES trip to Poland.
Eva Kor has touched hundreds of thousands of people over her 85 years through her message of overcoming tragedy, finding forgiveness, and healing. Surviving the Holocaust at age 10 meant that Eva emerged from a childhood full of fear, loss, grief, and displacement. She and her twin sister, Miriam, were the sole survivors of her immediate family, losing two sisters, her mother, and father on the selection platform at Auschwitz. In addition, she and Miriam were put through the horrific and inhumane experiments by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. But rather than allowing the darkest moments of her life to define her, she moved forward headfirst into a life of purpose.
Serving eight years in the Israeli army, Eva tried to create a new life for herself through learning a new trade and getting to know her fellow soldiers. After meeting another survivor and getting married, Eva moved from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Terre Haute, IN, where she spoke no English. Learning the language, raising two children, and working in real estate for 34 years, Eva tried to put her past behind her. But when the NBC special The Holocaust premiered, Eva realized the community finally had context for her tragic history. This newfound visibility and understanding led to a path filled with searching for Dr. Mengele’s files, speaking all over the world, helping individuals in search of their own healing, and founding a museum that continues to grow every year. Eva blazed trails for Holocaust education and brought the story of the Mengele twins and Dr. Mengele’s experiments into the international spotlight.
The themes of Eva’s life are apparent. We can overcome hardship and tragedy. Forgiveness can help us to heal. And everyone has the power and responsibility to make this world a better place.
We hope Eva’s story continues to change the lives of those who hear it for many years to come.
CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center will be closed until Tuesday, July 9th, at 10:00am EST in honor of Eva. We welcome visitors to come to the museum and pay their respects once we have reopened on Tuesday. Information about a public memorial service for Eva will be released at a future date. Her family thanks everyone for their kind words and for allowing them to have their peace and privacy at this time. CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center