I was both disappointed and thankful when was unable to listen to Holocaust survivor Eva Kor speak at a nearby university. I was attending the event with my niece and her son, and when my niece asked if I thought the auditorium would hold everyone, I said, I can’t see it being sold out (an odd term, I know, for a free event).
But, was I wrong. Not only was the auditorium filled to capacity, bystanders told us the overflow room was also full. When we entered the building, a long line could be seen in the hallway. Even a handful of people were sitting in the lobby, hoping to somehow get in.
So, why would I be thankful?
Since I write and read so much about the American political scene, it is easy to become cynical and start to think that beliefs espoused by demagogues like Donald Trump – whose speeches and ideas, Holocaust survivors say, are eerily similar to Hitler’s – have truly become mainstream. But such a large turnout indicates, to me, that people are still drawn to stories of strength, survival and forgiveness.
Of course the disappointment lies in the fact I did not get to hear Kor speak. Her life is an incredible journey and story. At Auschwitz, Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were singled out and used as human guinea pigs simply because they were twins. The experiments were conducted under the direction of Dr. Josef Mengele and most of the 3000 children involved died as a result of the ordeal.
Before being subjected to that cruelty, the twins had already experienced emotional pain and upheaval when they were separated from their father and two older sisters. Later their mother was also killed.
In 1978, the twins undertook a quest to locate other surviving twins and six years later, Eva established CANDLES, Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors – in Terre Haute, Indiana. Besides establishing CANDLES, Eva has authored two books.
You can read her complete story here.