Posts Tagged ‘Nazis’

The Amazing History of Eva Kor’s CANDLES Holocaust Museum

November 6, 2008

Eva Kor (photographed by Steve Lipson)

I’ve already written about Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor’s stunning act of forgiveness and her May 2008 commencement address at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana.

I was fortunate enough to spend 90 minutes on the phone with Eva recently to learn more about the CANDLES Holocaust Museum she founded in 1995 in Terra Haute, Indiana. CANDLES is an acronym for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.

Click here to make a donation to the Museum.



Eva, who began giving lectures on the Holocaust in 1978, was frustrated that she couldn’t answer people’s questions about the gruesome experiments performed on roughly three thousand twins by Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death.” “I began an extraordinary search for the estimated two hundred individuals who were surviving twins,” Eva told me. “I didn’t have any names, I didn’t have any addresses. I only had the liberation pictures. From 1978 through 1983, I wrote up to 500 letters three or four times a year asking the media to help me locate the surviving twins. It was a very demanding job but I wanted to know how these other twins’ lives turned out.” (more…)

Eva Kor’s Commencement Address

October 19, 2008

Eva Kor

Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate Eva Kor was kind enough to e-mail me the commencement address she gave in May 2008 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. I had written about her stunning act of forgiveness and invited her to share more of her incredible story. 



President Behrs, Board of Trustees, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends:

I want to thank you for this rare privilege of speaking to you today as your commencement speaker, and for awarding me an honorary doctorate. It is a unique honor and it will solve my problem with my son, Dr. Alex Kor. When I give him my “Dr. Mom” advice, he often says, “Mom, why don’t you get a Dr.’s degree?” From now on I can say to him, “No thanks, I already have one.” (more…)

Forgiving the Unforgivable

October 10, 2008

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.


Eva Kor

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.


My Interview with Holocaust survivor Dr. Robert Fisch

October 6, 2008

Dr. Robert Fisch

From the moment I first read about Dr. Robert Fisch, I felt drawn to him and wanted to meet him. Dr. Fisch, a native of Hungary, miraculously survived eleven months in Nazi work camps and the Gunskirchen concentration camp in the German forest.

After World War II ended, he completed medical school in Hungary, then came to America in 1957. He eventually became a University of Minnesota professor of pediatrics and an international expert on the metabolic disease PKU (phenylketonuria).

Dr. Fisch’s first book, Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust, is illustrated with one of his paintings and introduced by one of the biblical quotes carved on the walls of the Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs in Budapest, Hungary. 

Now retired, Dr. Fisch lives in a Minneapolis condo, where he graciously welcomed me and told me his story, which I arranged to have published in the February 2008 issue of The Jewish Magazine, an online journal.


Fisch, a retired University of Minnesota professor of pediatrics and an international expert on the metabolic disease PKU (phenylketonuria), survived the two most oppressive totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. A Holocaust survivor, he has been knighted in Hungary for his role in the 1956 revolution against communism. Fisch is also an accomplished artist. Each segment of his first book, “Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust,” is illustrated with one of his paintings and introduced by one of the biblical quotes carved on the walls of the Jewish Memorial Cemetery for the Martyrs in Budapest, Hungary. The book is distributed at no cost to interested schools through the Yellow Star Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping educate young people about the Holocaust. Fisch’s subsequent books include, “The Metamorphosis to Freedom,” and “Dear Dr. Fisch: Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor.” For more information, visit

My childhood in Budapest was very happy. My parents worked very hard. I had nice clothes, good food, many friends, and much love. A devout Catholic nurse named Anna Tatrai lived with us and helped raise me. I was taught to respect others’ beliefs and ways of life. I attended Friday service in the synagogue and also Sunday Mass. Just as bridges over the Danube River connect the two parts of my city, Buda and Pest, so it was in my home. Different religions were linked by love and understanding.

On March 19, 1944, nine months after I graduated high school, the Nazis invaded and occupied Hungary because the Hungarian government, which was on the side of Germany, tried to make a separate peace. From that point on, every Hungarian Jew had to (more…)