MUNCIE, Indiana – Eva Mozes Kor will speak of her harrowing experiences of personal loss and terror as a human experimentation subject of the Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele – Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death.” Among 3,000 twins chosen by Mengele, Eva was one of fewer than 200 twins who survived this notorious doctor’s fascination with gruesome experiments and murder. Amazingly, her tragic narrative gives way ultimately to a story of redemption and forgiveness.
Eva’s presentation, ‘The Triumph of the Human Spirit – from Auschwitz to Forgiveness” at Ball State University’s Emens Auditorium is scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd at 4:00 p.m. – thanks to the ambitious efforts undertaken by Steve Robert, a local musician, in association with The Committee for a Positive Influence and many other sponsoring organizations.
Eva’s appearance at Emens Auditorium is the setting for a public convocation, in which Mayor Dennis Tyler will present a Mayoral Proclamation creating Peace and Genocide Prevention Month for the month of April 2014. The proclamation at 4:00 p.m., with Eva’s subsequent presentation, will follow the 3:00 p.m. airing of a documentary film on her life.
This event, starting at 3:00pm, is free and open to the public. There is also free parking in the parking garage at Ball State University Student Center – with non-stop shuttles from the parking garage to the front door of Emens Auditorium.
Eva Mozes Kor
The film and the presentation on April 3rd are centered on the history of the ‘Mengele twins’ study and the spiritual journey Eva took in coping with the trauma experienced during the Holocaust. Eva and her twin sister Miriam underwent unbelievable horror and hardship before they would be liberated from Auschwitz – while all their other family members perished there.
The sisters immigrated to Israel, where Eva met her American husband, also a Holocaust survivor. In 1965, Eva became a U.S. citizen, and she and her husband would raise their two children in Indiana, where she presently resides.
In 1984, Eva founded the organization CANDLES (an acronym for “Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors”), through which she located 122 other living Mengele twins. In 1995, Eva founded CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center (www.candlesholocaustmuseum.org) in Terre Haute, Indiana. She continues to give presentations and tours there, especially to school-aged children. Donations to the museum are very welcome, and will help assure its future.
In 2007, Eva worked for passage of an Indiana law requiring Holocaust education in secondary schools. Eva and CANDLES continues to offer resources and curricular support for Indiana educators who teach about the Holocaust. In addition, Eva Mozes Kor is a recognized speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust, medical ethics, forgiveness, and peace.
Eva says one thing that her experiences have taught her is: “Never Give Up.”
Steve Robert took on the painstaking process of bringing Eva Mozes Kor to Muncie, because of his urgent realization that the world is steadily losing its living memories of the Holocaust, as many of the last Holocaust survivors will cease to tell the stories of what they endured and witnessed. During the planning and fundraising stages of sponsoring Eva’s appearance, Steve wrote, “I have found some success in life – by hanging on to one concrete idea – and trying to make it happen.”
Steve believes that the historical existence of unimaginable acts of cruelty and wrongdoing serves as a wake-up call to all of us. Without any personal associations to the Holocaust, Steve’s driving interest in sponsoring Eva to speak in Muncie has been to get people to stop and really think about their own ideas of what is right and wrong – and to inspire them to take steps towards making their community and the world a better place.
When asked what advice Steve would give to people who want to be involved in making a difference within the community, his response was: “Advice? Do it – do something concrete! The spiritual life is made up of concrete steps. Just start small, and make something happen. Make something REAL actually happen. In time, your ideas will get bigger, and you will need partners – but keep the meetings as short and focused as possible, and no more meetings (and talking) than necessary.”
The Committee for a Positive Influence and Other Sponsoring Organizations
The prospect of bringing Eva Mozes Kor to Muncie genuinely resonated with a great many people in the community, but starting from scratch, it took a lot of time to convince key decision-makers that Steve Robert’s idea could come to pass – even with a lot of help from the committee his friends helped to create.
The Committee for a Positive Influence includes Steve Robert, Barbara Alvarez Bohanon, Rev. William Woodson Noblitt, Daryl Gilbert, Bob Ball and Tom Steiner. Dr. George Branam has also been extraordinarily helpful and is an honorary member of this Committee.
The Emens Auditorium event featuring Eva Mozes Kor is being brought by The Committee for a Positive Influence and the Jewish Studies Program at Ball State University, with help from the Muncie Action Plan and the Ball State Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. It is made possible by generous funding from The Ball Brothers Foundation, The Provost’s Office at Ball State University, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, and various private donors. Notably, the staff at Emens Auditorium has gone to exceptional lengths in their efforts to help with this event.