Survivor Profiles: Eva Kor
Anger and hate are seeds that germinate war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace. It is the ultimate act of self-healing.
Eva Mozes Kor was born in the village of Ports, Romania, in 1934. Eva’s father, Alexander Mozes, was a landowner and farmer. He and his wife, Jaffa, had four daughters: Edit, Aliz, and twins Eva and Miriam. Given the Nazi regime’s increasing encroachment into Eastern Europe, the family lived in constant fear of a Nazi invasion alongside having to deal with the everyday experience of prejudice against the Jews.
When Eva and Miriam were six, their village became occupied by a Hungarian Nazi armed guard. After being under occupation for four years, the family was transported to a ghetto in Simleu Silvaniei. Just a few weeks later, the family was loaded with other Jewish prisoners onto a cattle car and transported to Auschwitz.
After a 70-hour journey without any food or water, Eva and her family emerged from the crowded and over-packed cattle car. The family tried to stay together but were eventually forced to separate. This would be the very last time that Eva would see her father, mother, and two older sisters ever again.
Eva and Miriam were able to stay together, but they became part of a group of children who were used as human test subjects in genetic experiments under the direction of Josef Mengele. Approximately 3,000 were abused, and many of them died as a result of experimentation. Eva soon became grievously ill, but miraculously she survived.
After the camp was liberated, Eva and Miriam were the sole survivors of their family. They were in three different refugee camps over nine months before returning to Romania to live with their aunt. In 1950, they immigrated to Israel. There, they felt free and no longer feared persecution for their Jewish identity. Eva spent the next 10 years in Israel. She eventually attained the rank of sergeant major in the headquarters of the Israeli army’s engineering corps. While living in Israel, Eva met Michael Kor, another Holocaust survivor. In 1960, the couple married in Tel Aviv, and Eva joined Michael in the United States. Eva became a US citizen in 1965, and the couple had two children, Alex and Rina.
While living in America, Eva became dedicated to trying to locate other survivors of Mengele’s experiments. With the help of Miriam, Eva founded CANDLES: Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors, an organization that vowed to tell the story of the victims of the Holocaust and fight Holocaust denial. In 1995, Eva opened a museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. The museum continues to educate thousands of visitors about the horrors of Auschwitz and the dangers of prejudice.
Eva’s hologram tells her story through Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience.
Learn More:CANDLES Holocaust Museum The Forgiveness Project sURVIVING THE ANGEL OF DEATH: THE TRUE STORY OF A MENGELE TWIN IN AUSCHWITZ, BY EVA MOZES KOR
Eva: A-7063 Documentary New York Times Article
Photo credits: Grant Stapleton