Free Event. Open to all.
Eva Kor: Surviving the Angel of Death
Eva Mozes Kor, who along with her identical twin survived the deadly genetic experiments conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, will serve as the speaker for this year's commemoration of Yom HaShoah at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at UCSB.
An internationally recognized educator and speaker, she is the author of Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The Story of Eva and Miriam Mozes and Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz. Eva was born in 1934 in the tiny village of Portz, Romania. Through the first four years of her education, she and Miriam attended a one-room schoolhouse. Their father, Alexander and mother, Jaffa had four girls: Edit, Aliz, and the twins Eva and Miriam. Though the Mozes family enjoyed a comfortable if rustic living as landowners and farmers, the family lived under the specter of the Nazi takeover of Germany and the everyday experience of prejudice against the Jews. When Eva and Miriam were six, their village was occupied by a Hungarian Nazi armed guard. The Mozes family was the only Jewish family in the village. In 1944, after four years' occupation, the family was transported to the regional ghetto in Simleu Silvaniei. Just a few weeks later, they were packed into a cattle car and transported to the Auschwitz death camp.
After 70 hours without food or water, Eva and her family emerged onto the selection platform at Auschwitz. Eva believes no other strip of land in the world has seen as many families ripped apart. Eva soon realized her father and two older sisters were gone. She never saw them again. Soon after, the girls were forcibly taken from their mother, whom they also never saw again. Eva and Miriam became part of a group of children used as human guinea pigs in genetic experiments under the direction of Dr. Josef Mengele. Approximately 1500 sets of twins—3000 children—were abused, and most died as a result of these experiments. Eva herself became deathly ill, but through sheer determination, she stayed alive and helped Miriam survive. Approximately 200 children were found alive by the Soviet Army at the liberation of the camp on January 27, 1945. The majority of the children were Mengele twins. Eva and Miriam Mozes were among them. Eva and Miriam no longer had anyone in the world except each other. They were in three different refugee camps over the next nine months before returning to live with their aunt in Romania. Although free from Auschwitz, Eva struggled to feel free as Communists took over Romania.
It was not until immigrating to Israel in 1950 that Eva and Miriam became unafraid of persecution because they were Jews. Over the next 10 years, Eva received a good education from an agricultural school, and went on to attain the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Army Engineering Corps. She met Michael Kor, a Holocaust survivor and American tourist. In 1960, the couple was married in Tel Aviv and Eva joined Mickey in the United States. In 1965, Eva became a US citizen, and the couple raised two children, Alex and Rina. In 1978, after NBC's miniseries The Holocaust aired, Eva began to wonder what had happened to the children after the liberation. Where had they gone? What had they done? How had the trauma of Auschwitz and the experiments affected their lives? These questions motivated her to search for surviving Auschwitz twins. Eva enlisted the help of Miriam, who was still living in Israel. Together they began locating other survivors of Dr. Mengele's deadly experiments. In 1984, Eva founded CANDLES, Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors in Terre Haute, Indiana and named her sister Vice President for Israeli Survivors. Eva liked the acronym CANDLES because she wanted to shed some light on this hidden and dark chapter of the Holocaust. With the purpose of educating, the museum houses various artifacts from Auschwitz and documents relating to Dr. Mengele. Thousands of people, mostly school-aged children, have visited the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center since then.
Presented by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.
Sponsor: Presented by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.