Imagine, in the black-and-white newsreel footage of your mind, a scared little ten-year-old Romanian girl lying in a sick bay in Auschwitz, having suffered the crutel indignity of being treated as little more than a lab animal by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, who had injected her with a lethal cocktail of bacteria. A doctor glances at the girl’s medical chart and brusquely tells her she has two weeks to live.
Fast-forward 63 years. Through the magic of e-mail, I am able to reach through the mists of history and contact that little girl. Eva Kor e-mails me back to tell me that, yes, what I had written about her was accurate.
Her stunning act of forgiveness still takes my breath away.
On January 27, 1995, in a public ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets, Eva Kor forgave the Nazis who murdered her parents and two older sisters. Standing by the ruins of a gas chamber at the infamous death camp, she also forgave Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who used Kor and her twin sister Miriam as guinea pigs for genetic experiments.
Kor’s forgiveness allowed her to release the heartache and hatred she had been carrying for five decades. She said, “I read my document of forgiveness and signed it. I immediately felt the pain lift from my shoulders. Finally, I was no longer a prisoner of Auschwitz. I was finally free. So I say to everybody, ‘Forgive your worst enemy. It will heal your soul and set you free.’”
Later that year, Kor opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. (CANDLES is an acronym for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.) In 2003, the museum was burned to the ground by a fire that was deliberately set. Kor forgave the arsonist and rebuilt the museum. She said, ““For most people there is a big obstacle to forgiveness because society expects revenge. Forgiveness is nothing more and nothing less than an act of self-healing, an act of self-empowerment. I call it a miracle medicine. It’s free, it works, and it has no side effects.”
As Eva Kor learned, forgiveness does not mean that you condone what was done to you or that you are absolving the perpetrator of responsibility for his or her actions. How deserving your antagonist is of your forgiveness is irrelevant.
Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. You cannot know real peace without it. Until you release your resentments, the external world will always remain a threat.
Eva Kor captured the true meaning of forgiveness, of release, when she said, “Forgiveness means to me that whatever was done to me is no longer causing me such pain that I cannot be the person I want to be.”
Forgiveness is another word for love. It is about choosing to love when love seems like an impossible choice to make.
Click here to donate to Eva Kor’s CANDLES Holocaust Museum.
Click here to read Chris Doyle’s review of Eva’s book, Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele’s Twins, The Story of Eva and Miriam Mozes.
Click here to view all my posts about Eva Kor as well as posts about other concentration camp survivors.
Click here to view all my forgiveness-related posts.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the one book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
Who will benefit from reading Through God’s Eyes?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one.
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to.
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier.
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SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT
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Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
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THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• How do you reconcile the “free will vs. Divine Will” conundrum?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.
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