Anger is a seed for war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace.
My husband just informed me that on July 5th, this remarkable lady passed away. For those of you who haven’t heard of Eva Mozes Kor, she and her ten-year-old twin sister Miriam, were the only members of their family who survived Auschwitz. Taken from their home in Romania, the rest of the Mozes family were sent to the gas chamber thirty minutes after they arrived at the infamous death camp.
Last picture taken of Eva’s family. She and Miriam are sitting in front on either side of their mother.
As blue-eyed twins however, Eva and Miriam were spared so they could be part of Josef Mengele’s horrifying experiments, one of which almost killed Eva.
Having survived Auschwitz, Eva eventually married a fellow Holocaust survivor and settled in Terre-Haute, Indiana. She then spent the next three decades trying to forget her nightmarish eighteen months spent with the Nazis. But then she decided to share her experience and speak out about the atrocities that were committed. She and Miriam co-founded the CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors) Holocaust Museum and Education Center in 1985, which also helped locate and bring together victims of Mengele. In addition to calling international attention to the atrocities that 1,500 sets of twins went through at the hands of Mengele, she also preached forgiveness. Her embrace of former Auschwitz guard, Oskar Groening, at his trial in 2015, made headlines around the world.
While this and her public expressions of forgiveness for Mengele and the Nazis were not welcome by all Holocaust survivors and their families, she remained steadfast in her belief that you cannot move forward and heal from abuse without forgiving your abuser.
You cannot be free from what was done to you unless you remove from your shoulder the daily burden of pain and anger and forgive the Nazis. Not because they deserve it. But because I deserve it.
When she passed away at age eighty-five, Eva was in Krakow, Poland on her annual educational trip to Auschwitz with CANDLES, which she had made about thirty times previously.
I discovered that I had one power. What I tell everybody is that you—-any victim, any person hurt—-you have the power to forgive. And what it does, forgiveness, has nothing to do with the perpetrator. It has everything to do with the way the victim feels.