A Holocaust survivor told an audience at MTSU that she found the Oct. 27 massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue “very, very eye-opening.”
Eva Mozes Kor, who, along with her identical twin sister Miriam, was a victim of grotesque scientific experiments in the notorious Auschwitz death camp during World War II, spoke Tuesday, Oct. 30, in MTSU’s Student Union Ballroom to an audience that included both college students and students from local K-12 schools.
Kor, who said she visited Auschwitz just a week earlier, said “crazy people are everywhere,” but we have the power to make a difference.
“I think only as citizens, we have to use our own minds, rather than listen to the rhetoric of the politicians’ political agenda,” Kor said.
The 83-year-old native Romanian and naturalized American citizen spoke the same day President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to Pittsburgh following the Oct. 27 slaughter of 11 people and the wounding of six others at the Tree of Life synagogue.
A suspect who had posted anti-Semitic threats online, Robert Bowers, is in police custody.
The Trumps traveled with his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, both of whom are Jewish.
While refusing to delve into presidential politics, Kor indicated that heated and vitriolic political verbiage “coming from every direction” has been counterproductive.
“My great dream is to take every member of Congress to Auschwitz on the selection platform and show them what would happen if they don’t get along with one another,” Kor said.
The “selection platform” was the location in the center of the death camp where a Nazi doctor determined who would be admitted to the camp and who would go straight to the gas chambers.
Eva and Miriam Mozes were held in Auschwitz from 1944 to 1945, when they were liberated by the Soviet army. All the rest of their immediate family was killed by the Nazis.
In 1995, Kor signed a “declaration of amnesty” officially forgiving all Holocaust perpetrators and Nazi sympathizers and left it at the former death camp.
“It made me feel unbelievably good that I even had the power to forgive the ‘Angel of Death’ of Auschwitz,” Kor said, referring to Dr. Josef Mengele.
Mengele, the so-called “Angel of Death,” conducted horrifying experiments on twins, homosexuals, Jews and other groups. Kor said she and her sister received injections that made them sick. To this day, she said, she does not know what was in the syringes.
Kor said she learned four lessons from her unique life experiences:
• Never give up on yourself or your dreams.
• Prejudice is equal to hatred.
• Forgive your worst enemy.
• Do at least one thing to help make the world a better place.
The lecture was part of MTSU Holocaust Education Day ceremonies, which included a panel discussion on the Holocaust, table displays on various aspects of the Holocaust and a showing of “The Story of Eva,” a documentary about Kor.
MTSU’s Jewish and Holocaust Studies Program, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and the MTSU Department of English sponsored Kor’s visit.
— Gina Logue (firstname.lastname@example.org)