(JNS) Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor who advocated for forgiveness towards those who murdered 11 million people, including 6 million Jews, died in Poland last week at the age of 85.
Kor died in Krakow during an annual educational trip to Poland organized by the Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which she founded in 1995 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“Eva Kor has touched hundreds of thousands of people over her 85 years through her message of overcoming tragedy, finding forgiveness, and healing,” said the museum in a statement announcing her death on July 4.
Kor was born on Jan. 31, 1934 in Romania. Ten years later, she, and her twin sister, Miriam, stood on the selection platform at Auschwitz, separated from her parents and two other sisters – the final time the girls would be with their family.
“All that took 30 minutes from the time we got down from the cattle car, and my whole family was gone,” Kor told Buzzfeed in a 2017 video that has gotten more than 12 million views on YouTube. “Only Miriam and I were left, holding hands and crying.”
Kor and Zeiger were at Auschwitz for nine months where they were tortured by the notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele until the Soviet army liberated the concentration camp in 1945.
After moving to Romania to be with their aunt, at 16 years old, the sisters immigrated to Israel and both served in the army. In Israel, Kor met her husband, Holocaust survivor Michael Kor. They moved to Terre Haute, where they raised two children.
When the NBC special “The Holocaust” premiered, she realized the community finally had context for her tragic history. She began searching for Mengele’s files, speaking all over the world, helping individuals in search of their own healing, and founding a museum. She blazed trails for Holocaust education and brought the story of the Mengele twins and Dr. Mengele’s experiments into the international spotlight.
In her 2012 book Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz, Kor wrote: “Forgiveness is not so much for the perpetrator, but for the victim.”