Holocaust survivor brings her story of forgiveness


Alex Staton, Assistant News Editor

On the dawn of an early spring day in 1944, at age 10, Eva Kor and her family were stripped from their homes and shoved into cattle cars to make the four day journey to Auschwitz with 100 other people. There wasn’t even enough room to sit down.

Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, were taken away from the rest of their family and placed with other sets of twins to be tested by Nazi doctors.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, she was treated as a human guinea pig. She received experimental injections and was stripped naked, having each body part weighed daily. Through all of the tests and torture, Kor said she spoke a silent pledge that she would do anything and everything to survive.

One of the injections caused Eva to get a high fever, but even when the doctor said she had two weeks to live, she continued to speak her silent pledge and willed herself to survive in order to prove the doctors wrong.

To make it through the months of torture at Auschwitz, Kor depended on strength that many other 10-year-olds do not possess. This strength was something that she had from an even younger age, coming from a family with an Orthodox Jewish father who desperately wanted a boy.

“I was born at the wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong religion, and the wrong sex. We had two older sisters, my father was a very Orthodox Jew; he desperately wanted a boy. When the midwife delivered my sister, he asked with great anticipation ‘What do we have?’ and the midwife knowing, apologetically said, ‘It’s a girl, but don’t worry there is another one coming.’ So I arrived as the greatest disappointment to my father.”

At five and a half years old, her father told her “you should’ve been a boy” and ostracized her.

“He decided to treat me like the black sheep of the family. My sister and I compared notes after the war and she said ‘oh daddy was wonderful. He would put me on his lap and tell stories of visiting Palestine’. The only time I saw daddy’s lap was when he took off his belt to belt me because I got belted almost daily,” she said. “What that did is I learned to outsmart him and learned defiance at 4 and a half years. That is the reason I was one of the strongest in Auschwitz.”

This strength didn’t only push her to survive, it pushed her to be able to forgive everyone who ever hurt her including German dictator Adolph Hitler,  Dr. Mengele and Dr.Münch, one of Mengele’s associates, who was responsible for the cruel experiments on Jews.

Kor and Munch went back to Auschwitz where, in recognition of the dead, Dr. Münch agreed to sign a death certificate outside of the ruins of the gas chamber.

“I have the power to forgive. Nobody can give or take that power away. As we stood by ruins of gas chambers, immediately I felt not like a victim or a prisoner of my tragic past when it was signed,” Eva said. “Anger is a seed for war. Forgiveness is a seed of peace. Forgiveness is the best revenge.”

This forgiveness didn’t come without backlash.

“[Thursday] night I was at the house of my hostess Gloria and there was a daughter of a Holocaust survivor and she was very angry with me. What happens with victims is that they pass that anger onto their children and their children become victims, but I can’t do anything besides be who I am. I hope someone among them will finally forgive” Kor said. “Two or three years ago I got an email from a great great granddaughter of and Armenian genocide. She was working on her master’s degree and ran into my name and could not believe that I could forgive. Here we are the great great granddaughter and you’re still as victim. When does it end? And what happens to all the victims? There is nothing good about being a victim.”