DATELINE: Shocker from Holocaust Survivor
Preaching Forgiveness Eva Kor
We have to admit the moment we saw the title for this documentary about Mengele at Auschwitz, we were baffled and shocked. What kind of Nazi propaganda was this? It turns out the film is told from the viewpoint of Eva Kor, a survivor twin of the Mengele experiments. Her story makes a compelling version of Forgiving Dr. Mengele.
Her idea to forgive (not forget) the people who harmed her has infuriated other twin survivors—and Jews in general. She argues that their anger and hatred are destructive to themselves and their own healing.
She meets with a Nazi doctor—and she writes him a letter of forgiveness. They go to Auschwitz together, elderly and frail, holding onto each other. It is startling.
What a tale she has to tell. And, if she forgives the evil Nazi doctor, we want to hear why she has come to this conclusion.
From 2006, this film is brilliantly cut, swirling back and forth between modern Terre Haute with its placid environs, and the horror of black and white footage. Eva, now a realtor, walks along a luxury pool that turns into a puddle she walks around when she visited the camp in 1984.
She is survivor in every way. As a ten-year old child, she saw her first dead body in the dirt, unattended and naked, and she swore she would never give up life. Each day she willed herself to live through horrid experiments and deplorable conditions.
Fortunately, she was rescued in ten months—though she and her twin were damaged by the trauma, as expected. Once arriving at her destination, her mother was ripped away—and she never saw father and sisters again. Only she and her twin sister were together: saved for Mengele’s dastard medical plans.
When the Soviets freed her camp, she and her sister were the first two to march out of the barbed wire on film, a famous piece of celluloid.
Her life in America came after she married another Holocaust survivor. They raised three typical American children in the heartland of America—but she never leaves food on her plate and sleeps with her purse under her. These are holdovers from losing everything.
When she tackles forgiveness, she becomes a lightning rod in Israel, Germany, and the United States.
She and her husband subscribe to the notion that you can only transcend such a life-altering horror by forgiving the enemies who tormented you. It works for her, and she is a hard-working, admirable woman who laughed when they said she could not sell real estate because she had an accent.
What a remarkable person.