When I was 10 years old, my family and I were taken to Auschwitz. My twin sister Miriam and I were separated from my mother, father, and two older sisters. We never saw any of them again. We became part of a group of twin children used in medical and genetic experiments under the direction of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. I became gravely ill, at which point Mengele told me "Too bad - you only have two weeks to live." I proved him wrong. I survived. In 1993, I met a Nazi doctor named Hans Munch. He signed a document testifying to the existence of the gas chambers. I decided to forgive him, in my name alone. Then I decided to forgive all the Nazis for what they did to me. It didn't mean I would forget the past, or that I was condoning what they did. It meant that I was finally free from the baggage of victimhood. I encourage all victims of trauma and violence to consider the idea of forgiveness - not because the perpetrators deserve it, but because the victims deserve it.

Follow me on twitter @EvaMozesKor Find me on Facebook: Eva Mozes Kor (public figure) and CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center Join me on my annual journey to Auschwitz this summer. Read my book "Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz" Watch the documentary about me titled "Forgiving Dr. Mengele" available on Netflix. The book and DVD are available on the website, as are details about the Auschwitz trip: www.candlesholocaustmuseum.org All proceeds from book and DVD sales benefit my museum, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

Proof: http://imgur.com/0sUZwaD More proof: http://imgur.com/CyPORwa

EDIT: I got this card today for all the redditors. Wishing everyone to cheer up and have a happy Valentine's Day. The flowers are blooming and spring will come. Sorry I forgot to include a banana for scale.


EDIT: I just took a little break to have some pizza and will now answer some more questions. I will probably stop a little after 2 pm Eastern. Thank you for all your wonderful questions and support!

EDIT: Dear Reddit, it is almost 2:30 PM, and I am going to stop now. I will leave you with the message we have on our marquee at CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. It says, "Tikkun Olam - Repair the World. Celebrate life. Forgive and heal." This has been an exciting, rewarding, and unique experience to be on Reddit. I hope we can make it again.

With warm regards in these cold days, with a smile on my face and hope in my heart, Eva.

Comments: 3911 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

EvaMozesKor3180 karma

I got this card today for all the redditors. Wishing everyone to cheer up and have a happy Valentine's Day. The flowers are blooming and spring will come. Sorry I forgot to include a banana for scale.


EvaMozesKor2822 karma

This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

EvaMozesKor2424 karma

I have a question for you, reddit: How can I get people to join my efforts to create world peace? I think we can do it by forgiving and sowing those seeds for peace and teaching others to do it. We would become an army for peace, without guns, without bombs. With goodwill, with kindness, with healing, and with respect. Since some of you like what I am trying to do, will you join me in this effort? And what ideas do you have?

EDIT: Wouldn't it be interesting if governments of the world started discussing the merits of our little army of peace through forgiveness, and start trying to heal people? Every good idea starts in the hearts and minds of one person. And every bad idea for war starts in the heart and mind of one person. So I choose to go with the idea of peace.

EDIT: And I always say, if peace, healing, and forgiveness don't work for the rest of the world, then at least I am at peace. Because I have found out one thing : You cannot run away from yourself.

FalloutLoneWanderer2379 karma

Have you ever been confronted by any halocaust-deniers? How did you handle the experience/people?

Thank you for sharing your story.

EvaMozesKor3744 karma

Yes, I have been confronted by deniers, revisionists, and I have one simple response for them: I know I had a mother and father, and I never saw them again after Auschwitz, nor my older sisters. So if you know so much, tell me what happened to my family. If my story isn't true, I guess you will agree with me and will repeat after me, that you want your family to have the same destiny as mine did. If you don't believe my story about how my family ended up, I want you to say out loud that you wish the same thing for my family that happened to your family. And they are usually silent.

_2chainz1915 karma

This might be too much, but what were some of the experiments ?

EvaMozesKor2861 karma

It's not too much, just too long to type. The most dangerous of the experiments were being injected with germs, diseases, and drugs. I was injected with one of those diseases and I was supposed to die. I beat the odds and I survived. But I know that from the 1500 sets of twins, only 200 individuals survived. The blood drawing was painful, but not as dangerous.

The other experiments - we had to stand or sit naked for up to 8 hours a day. It was so demeaning that even in Auschwitz I couldn't cope with it. The only way I could cope was by blocking it out of my mind, so I have very few memories of those long hours. What they were studying was how identical twins were alike and how they were different, and how well we fit the design of an Aryan race. They would measure and compare every part of us.

The observation labs were 3 days a week between 6-8 hours. The injections and blood taking were 3 days, alternate days. The only day we had "off" was Sunday, and that was the way we knew it was Sunday.

DudeorDie1816 karma

Hi Eva. Thank you so much for doing this AMA.

This may be an odd question, but did you see glimpses of humanity from any your captors? Any kind gestures?

EvaMozesKor2807 karma

Yes. When I was in the barrack of the living dead as I called it (the hospital), and I didn't die in the first two weeks like I was supposed to, the supervisor brought me a piece of bread every night and put it on my bed. I am sure if she were discovered, she would have been killed. That barrack was not supposed to have any food. Looking back, I can see there were a lot more people who were looking the other way and helping us survive than I first knew. Even when we boiled potatoes secretly, they must have smelled the potatoes and did not report us. So they pretended they didn't smell it. So we could have boiled potatoes, that was it. Let me be clear - the regime was evil beyond description, and many of them - not all, but many - were passionately carrying out the orders. Some remained human beings remained human beings even in a place like Auschwitz. Even a Nazi doctor such as Hans Munch manipulated the system in some ways to save 30 inmates. I don't know how many examples like this there were. Obviously not enough. But there were enough to make me hopeful that human beings can remain human even among such conditions. Being me, I'll always focus on the good rather than the bad.

Freeoath1626 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. I am myself a Twin and I visited Auschwitz a few years ago. When I walked through the exhibit that showed pictures of the twin experiments Mengele did it really hit my. I could only imagine the fear and sorrow of that happening to me or my twin brother. What I would like to ask is simply

1: What happend to you and your sister. When did you realise you were free?

2: How was it returning to Auschwitz, what went trough your head?

EvaMozesKor3022 karma

Oh my goodness lots of questions. The story, I will describe it in a very simple sentence. We were huddled in our filthy bunkbeds, crawling with lice and rats. We were starved for food, we were starved for human kindness, and we were starved for the love of the mother and father we once had. We had no rights, we knew we had to submit to the medical experiments in order to live. We had one major determination: To live one more day.

How was it returning to Auschwitz? Particularly for me, it was like returning to a place that for 40 years I wondered at times if it was real or was it a figment of my imagination? And to realize it was real, that what I remembered was correct, and that I actually recognized many of the buildings, removed that big monstrosity from my imagination. And also the fact that I could go into the camp and walk out and nobody shot at me, that feeling of being free was very, very reassuring. I realized that I have beaten the Nazis. I survived in spite of what they did to me. It's a feeling of triumph.

dangerevans0071353 karma

You came to my Indiana middle school when I was young and my video productions class did a project on CANDLES... I just wanted to say I've not forgotten what you taught us. Even though you were only a guest in our class for a short time, you taught me more about the nature of humanity, both good and bad, than I have ever learned from anyone else. I don't have a question, I just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks.

EvaMozesKor953 karma

You are welcome, it's my pleasure. I am glad it helped you.

PkaImDownCow1167 karma

I don't have a question. I would just like to share it does my heart good to see this post

EvaMozesKor1150 karma

Very good, thank you.

UnholyDemigod910 karma

Hello Eva, and welcome to reddit! I have two questions for you:

Did you struggle with the decision to forgive the nazis?

What was Dr. Mengele like as a person? Was he the evil psychotic monster the world has come to know him as, or was he simply a man interested in his experiments and didn't let ethics stand in the way?

EDIT: one more. How does Schindler's List compare to the reality? Did it capture the feeling well?

EvaMozesKor1963 karma

No struggle to forgive. From the moment I realized I had that power over my life, that was an extremely exciting discovery, because most victims do not know they have any power over their lives from the time they become victims. The difference between forgiving and not forgiving (and most survivors remain angry, sad, disconnected from the world at times because they can't cope) they pass on these feelings to their children, who also become angry. I call anger a seed for war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace.

Mengele was very matter of fact in all the times I had seen him. Only a couple of times I saw him yell when the supervisors didn't do something or one of his "guinea pigs" died. I have never seen him do the autopsies, I just saw him supervise the counting and observation of us. I believe he was a dedicated Nazi - dedicated to helping Hitler and the Nazi ideology and he was willing to do everything to accomplish that. There was no limit. Experiments in Auschwitz were done on people who he did not even consider human beings. Mengele never talked to me - he talked about me and he talked at me. I don't think that was the case with all the twins, but that is what happened to me.

Everything I liked about Schindler's List was because it was very good at describing the confusion the victims felt. We did not know what would happen at any moment. There was no rule, rhyme, or reason for what happened. We never knew what any Nazi would do or what we should be waiting for. I did not like the scenes where Oskar Schindler jumps into bed with naked women. I am sure it happened but it didn't add anything to telling the story of the Holocaust. Now when it showed naked people standing for roll call, that was correct. Then it was illustrating historic events. But the jumping in bed, that was just Hollywood I guess. And it was a Hollywood movie, so I guess we have to give Steven Spielberg some leeway.

MrPrestige898 karma

Thank you for doing this. You were 10 years old at the time. At what age did you fully understand the experience you'd been through?

EvaMozesKor1856 karma

I understood the experience that I was between life and death and that I had to do what I had to do in order to survive. I understood that all along. What happened and the after-affects took until my twin sister died in 1993, to realize these experiments - 48 years later - that killed my sister...they left a tremendously physically damaged individuals. In many cases, and I am sad about it, the survivors are very emotionally damaged because they are still (emotionally) victims. That is my passion - teaching victims how to heal themselves. I cannot heal them, but each person can heal himself or herself.

ChiRJM877 karma

Hello, Eva! I went with you on the trip to Poland and Auschwitz in 2012 and I just want to restate how amazing I think you are! I have continued to keep in contact with everybody at CANDLES and I think the programs you hold are just fantastic.

For everyone reading this, I want to let you know that Eva Kor is truly one of the kindest, sweetest, and funniest people I've ever met. She's been through so much and she still wakes up in a good mood and just wants to educate people. She's such an inspiration!

Here are a few links you might enjoy:

Eva dancing the Hora in front of a gas chamber in Auschwitz to celebrate another year of freedom from that place.

Our 2012 group

Eva and I in front of her picture at the Auschwitz Museum

Notorious Sign

Eva looking fabulous! :)

Thank you for doing this AMA, Eva!

EvaMozesKor525 karma

Thank you - you are a wonderful redditor and friend to me and to CANDLES.

moderndayheathen764 karma

I live in Poland and I think your thoughts on forgiveness could be of great use to the people of this country. It seems that we , as Poles, are happy to be the victim rather than use the lessons learned in the past to influence the future. One particular political party still hold great suspicion of the Russians and many people in general do not have a tolerance for Germans. If you could give me one piece of advice on how to speak to someone not willing to forgive, how do I help them move on?

EvaMozesKor1577 karma

Ask them, "Are you happy hating this group or that group? Does it make you feel good that you can hate? Would you like to become friends with them? Are you the strong person who is willing to take the first step? Then if so, think about forgiving the past because it has no importance to the present or future unless you hold onto it. If you want to make friends in the world, become that friend." Become the person you want others to be.

brokentelescope683 karma

Wow. I cannot emphasize enough how much I respect you and your bravery. You stood up under the most terrible of times and kept yourself together in the face of unspeakable horrors. And to forgive your tormentors shows a greater and brighter perspective on life than most. I don't think I could have done it.

I am a 10th grade English teacher, and every year we read Elie Wiesel's Night. In fact, we will be starting it soon. These are 15 and 16 year old children who have for the most part never travelled more than 100 miles from home. They are sheltered and naive, but like all teenagers they think they have it all figured out. If you could speak to them, and share with them just one piece of wisdom, what would you most want them to know?

EvaMozesKor1527 karma

Growing up is very hard. Even in United States. Therefore, I tell them what I did in Auschwitz: I never gave up on life and survival. So if they never give up on themselves and their dreams, they can accomplish anything.

For you, maybe for one year, you can have them read Surviving the Angel of Death and ask your students what they thought. They can read the book and then Skype with me to ask me questions. It will make it a lot more real for them. I am a real person, and you can Skype with me. It is wonderful - doesn't cost too much money.

EvaMozesKor652 karma

In my first 16 years, I experienced Nazism, communism, and then freedom when I finally got to Israel in 1950.

EvaMozesKor617 karma

The best thing in my life right now is realizing that through my efforts and talking to people, I can touch some people’s lives. And what else can any of us hope for but to help people? I realize forgiveness is controversial, but for victims to realize they do not need anyone’s permission to forgive and that it can help them feel better – it is tremendously important to me. And if Reddit helps people realize that more than anything I have ever done before, then thank you Reddit.

red_sundress587 karma

I think this is the first time Reddit has ever left me truly speechless. Thanks so much for sharing.

I can't imagine the strength it took to forgive. You are an inspiration.

EvaMozesKor622 karma

Instead of strength to forgive, it is a very wise thing to do for ourselves and if we can teach others to forgive, it is the secret to world peace I believe.

sofaking812478 karma

How do you feel about using Nazis/The Holocaust for entertainment value?

Is there a difference in using Nazis/the Holocaust in a film like Schindler’s List (i.e., more reality based, serious in tone) versus one like Inglorious Bastards (i.e., fiction based, less serious in tone)?

For further examples, and keeping things general, in a very popular video game series there is a mode called “Nazi Zombies” where you kill as many zombie Nazis as you can. Another example is a card game with a card that simply says “You killed a Nazi. That’s a good thing! Receive one point” (or close enough to that quote).

Thank you for doing this!

EvaMozesKor1102 karma

I believe that we live life to the best of our ability, and the Holocaust, while it is an unbelievably tragic human event... I don't think that people should go around feeling sad and bewildered for the rest of their lives. When I tell my story, I don't want it to be used for entertainment, but if I can tell my own story and also tell some jokes and make people laugh, they will be better able to learn than if it is continuous tragedy. I don't want to make it so sad that people will turn away and not be able to learn from it. I wouldn't call Schindler's List entertainment because it has tremendous educational value in helping people watch the story and stay tuned to it. By tuning out, we will not learn anything. With fictional accounts, I think it is okay to an extent. The true autobiographical stories have more value because people know "This is what happened," and it is not wrapped up in any make-believe ideas. But I think they both have an important educational merit. I am very much against any kind of killing as a game. I think killing should be left to self-defense. That has no merit for me whatsoever. I am very much against it.

StrayaMate2000402 karma

Hi Eva.

What happened on the day you were no longer subject to Nazi rule?

PS: You remind me of my grandma, I just wanna give you a cuddle!

EvaMozesKor1081 karma

I have never hugged people across the ocean or across the internet, but in thought I can do it. So I thank you for thinking of me for thinking of me as your grandma. I should be a grandma but my own children have not blessed me with any, so I "adopt" people as my grandchildren. I will take whatever I can get.

On the day it ended: I wanted to go home! Miriam and I grabbed our little belongings and thought we were going home. But then we ended up in 3 different refugee camps after the war, or DP camps as they were called. We got enough food, and we were actually free to go in and out of those DP camps. It took us 9 months to get home, and when you arrived, I found no one home. The house was neglected, there were 3 crumbled pictures on the bedroom floor, and that was all that was left of my family. That was a very difficult realization.

I am going back there this summer. You can join me. We will meet with the little girl in the last picture of my family, whom I went to school with 70 years ago. Join us if you want to. We will bring a few buses into the tiny village in Transylvania. That will be hilarious. You can also join me in Auschwitz, I will be there at the beginning of July.

thiagoq00402 karma

First of all, thank you so much for participating in this AMA on possibly one of the most important and darkest moments in mankind history. I do have some questions:

  1. As a psychology graduate who did a project on Mengele, it seems like he was clearly diagnosable as being Sadistic - or basically feeling pleasure from the suffering of others. Did you meet him in person? What are your thoughts on this?

  2. What are the things that kept you alive while so many others perished? Faith, luck, something you did?

  3. There are some who say that the prisoners outnumbered the guards by so much that if they actually rebelled then they would have been able to escape. How true do you think this is?

Thanks again and I'll definitely look more into your story.

EvaMozesKor966 karma

  1. I met him every single day. The interactions between us the twins and him were limited. He did not stop and talk to us on a daily basis. He was running the projects, whatever he had in mind. The experiments were conducted on a daily basis except Sunday. I have never seen him take blood or give injections, but I have often seen him stand over the inmate doctors or inmates who were made to administer the experiments. In my opinion it was too much work for him personally, but he definitely supervised it. That you have done a study on him as an academician, I did not have the information at my hands when I was in Auschwitz. All I knew that he was god there and what he wanted to happen happened. So we feared him. After a while, we knew he murdered our families. We also knew in a strange way that as long as he wanted us alive, we would be alive. In my opinion, that was the strangest relationship I ever experienced. I never liked him, I never admired him, yet I knew our lives were in his hands. Some children liked him because he gave them candy. I never received any candy but I was a very angry child and I am sure the vibrations he felt when he was near me weren't positive. So I never got any candy, but that's okay.

Something I did: I actually arrived in Auschwitz as a very religious 10 year old. When I saw the dead bodies the first night in the latrine, I had to discard the fact that I was religious, because I wouldn't even eat the bread when we arrived because it wasn't kosher. I knew I had to eat the bread, because I had to do everything in my power to make sure Miriam and I survived and walked out of the camp alive.

3, that probably is true, but then the question is, escape to where? The environment outside was not friendly. People would not have sheltered us. Most of the militarized zone around the camp was vast - I never saw anything but that when we walked from Auschwitz to Birkenau. I know the inmates in Sobibor who escaped who were very well organized - only half of them or less survived the escape, because where do you hide? How do you find food? Auschwitz was probably the best-fortified camp with guard towers and electrified barbed wire. There were very few escapes from Auschwitz that were successful. Rudolph Vrba's escape was amazing. At roll call in morning and evening, we would realize somtimes that someone escaped, and we had to stand for roll call until the person was found alive or dead. On most of the occasions that I remember, the person was found dead and brought in front of us, or brought in alive and hanged in front of us. I know there were a few successful escapes. I lectured in San Fran a few years back when the survivors introduced themselves and said he escaped. I told him, I finally know why I stood so long for roll call - because people like you were escaping! It made me feel good that people escaped.

ThatsMrAsshole2You315 karma

I have anger. I wish I could learn to forgive and let it go. My experience is nothing compared to what you endured, and yet you are able to find forgiveness in your heart. How do you get to a point where you truly let it go? I've tried and it always resurfaces. I'm so tired of being angry, I feel it is making me old before my time.

EvaMozesKor641 karma

Take a piece of paper and start writing a letter to the person or people who caused you all that pain and anger. It took me four months to write mine. Don't stop until you finish, and at the bottom write "I forgive you" when you feel it in your heart. You have to feel the physical freedom from that pain and anger.

When my museum was firebombed in 2003, I asked myself, "Why would anyone want to do that to me?" First is shock, second is disbelief, and then you ask yourself, "Am I going to hate these people?" If I let anger take over, I am going to become a victim again. And even as the flames were still burning the building, I could see it was an easy way of slipping back into that victim mentality. Now I said I was very sad, and I was. But I would not let them win by becoming a victim.

ascanlon42290 karma

Hi Eva! I am an academic and author of the book Unravelled, which is a fictional work on the experiments of twins. I've read your work Children of the Flames several times and don't have a question right this second, but am here to be a friendly face in case deniers rear their ugly heads. Thank you so much for doing this. This is very brave!

EvaMozesKor406 karma

Hello, Children of the Flames is an interpreter of the author. I would recommend reading the book Surviving the Angel of Death and Echoes from Auschwitz because they are my story, in my words. Thank you for being part of our conversation!

HVY_the_damned263 karma

Did any Nazi personnel express any reservation as to the experiments being done on you? Did anyone at all express guilt or doubt as to what was going on? Did you ever receive kindness from anybody during this time?

EvaMozesKor343 karma

I don't know that there was time for people to feel guilty or for me to know how they felt. There was not that much interaction between us and the administrators of the experiments. It moved fast and matter of fact. I have not had the opportunity to ever talk to any of the inmates who were forced to administer them. We were always under Nazi guard, and there was not much interaction at my age (10 years old). Maybe some of the older twins, but I don't know. All we wanted to do was survive the experiment, get it over with, and go on.

mdhurt2243 karma

What's your fondest memory before the war? What about after the war?

EvaMozesKor944 karma

Before the war: We loved to go in our big orchard (the four girls and cousins) climb all the trees, pick fruit, eat, have plays in the big orchard. What I remember as a child was that we would improvise the plays. I thought if I made anyone laugh, "Wow, I made someone laugh! If I could impress someone to laugh, that made me happy." Also my mother had unbelieveable wisdom in raising four girls who learned to be little farmers in competition with each other, and we were also competing every morning in the summer who would be the best helper, and that child would be named "helper of the day." What psychology! I adored my mother and her wonderful holiday tables should have won any "Good Housekeeping Award." Actually she could have competed with Martha Stewart.

After the war: I think that right after the war there were a lot of problems. One thing - Miriam and I would always dress up alike. We would go to Cluj (in Romania) and visit the botanical garden. We were 14, 15, or 16 years old and we wanted to attract the attention of the boys. And we did (and that was fun). The other thing we liked was to fool the teachers in class, and that was fun because if we were not prepared with our homework, the teacher would look at one of us and ask for the answer. We would both stand up to answer the question, and she wouldn't know who was who. She would be embarrassed and sit down. Naughty me. Mischievous, definitely.

When we were in Israel, MIriam went out with a guy who did not take no for an answer. She was very upset when she got home. I said call him back and tell him you will go with him to the movies, and I will go in your place. I wore the same outfit she did. I didn't want to worry about if I would recognize him, so I got there early. He approached me and said he had tickets. I said, "You know, my roommate is not home tonight. I just wanted to mention that to you." I knew what would happen. He said, "Well, the movie isn't that good. Let's go visit your apartment." Miriam was at the apartment waiting for us. When he walked in, I think for about 10 minutes he was in shock. Kept looking at me, then Miriam. Me, then Miriam. Finally we said, "When somebody tells you no, you have to be a gentleman enough to accept it. I hope you have learned your lesson." We could do things like that as twins that other people cannot do.

missing_eyeball210 karma

What is your favorite piece of music? Was there ever any music or songs that you heard in Auschwitz that made you feel good?

EvaMozesKor526 karma

No I have never heard any music in Auschwitz even though Miriam (my twin) said she did. I think that was also psychological. I was in a state of mind of, "This is (excuse me for the expression) hell on earth, and somehow I am going to get out of here alive." In that state of mind, there is no music. In my recent years, I like "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha and my favorite poem is "If" by Rudyard Kipling. Both of them appeal to me because they reflect my ideals.

missing-marbles181 karma

Hi Eva! I've been to your museum, wrote a couple of reports on you in school, and met you. It was one of the most meaningful moments in my life, and it meant a lot to be able to go to your museum and learn about the history of what my own family went through.

My question is: Having survived the epitome of prejudice and discrimination, what do you think should be done in today's society to make it a more equal and less hateful place?

EvaMozesKor293 karma

Equal - we all should treat one another we want to be treated. Very simple rule. You can't really regulate prejudice. You can regulate how institutions can be run, but I think we have to teach each other to like who we are and value others. We at the museum this year are having a program series called, "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." On our marquee, we have "Let us remove all hatred and prejudice from the world, and let it begin with me." In most cases, if you smile at a person, they will smile back. If you frown or make hateful gestures, that is what you will get back. The only exception is, if I see a person with a gun, I don't think smiling would work. Survival and self-preservation are very important to every single person.

Taurusan171 karma

Do you believe that Mengele really continued his genetic experiments with twins in Brazil? And how do you feel about it?

Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil'

EvaMozesKor260 karma

That's a very interesting question. I believe that Mengele has never given up his ideas of continuing his experiments. That was his baby, his idea, and he was going to carry it with him anywhere he could. I am not 100% convinced, but I don't know, if the experiments in Brazil were run by Mengele or some other doctor who liked to play god. But it's not beyond possibility. I have also been contacted by people who say Mengele was involved in mind control experiments and actually I have met psychologists who said they had patients throughout US and Canada who were involved in those. I cannot verify any of these assumptions or statements, but I believe they are all possible.

the_ghetto_wigger165 karma

What was your liberation from the camp like? How vivid are your memories of your whole experience to this day?

EvaMozesKor623 karma

Very, very vivid. After months of battlefield bombing, artillery through November, December, and January continually, finally the guns were silent. And we thought this would be the day we would be free. But we still didn't know how that would happen. It was late in the afternoon on January 27, 1945 - about 4:30 pm when a woman ran into the barrack yelling at the top of her voice, WE ARE FREE! WE ARE FREE! WE ARE FREE! I wanted to see how did she know that? So we went outside. And we stood there for awhile until I saw at a distance, lots of people, all wrapped in white camouflage raincoats, they were smiling, and they didn't look like the Nazis. We ran up to them. They gave us chocolate, cookies, and hugs. And this was my first taste of freedom.

LemBenf163 karma

Thank you so much for doing this! My question is, what was the first thing you did when you were free and healthy?

EvaMozesKor466 karma

I am asked the question, when did my life become "normal," which is kind of what you are trying to ask. Since I wasn't free and healthy until I arrived in Israel (I lived in communist Romania immediately after the war), the first thing I did was learn Israeli dances and learned to sing. So singing and dancing to me is always an expression of joy. That is the reason why I always want to dance the hora with people who are sad. To be 16 and to enjoy jumping around with others, dancing and singing, made me realize I no longer had to worry. Also, living in Israel and not having to worry that I wouldn't be harmed just because I was Jewish was tremendously helpful.

Help people who have been damaged by mistreatment to learn to like who they are - that is what we should tell experts. If we do not like who we are, that is what we will reflect to the world. To be in Israel in that agricultural school with other children who had been damaged in the Holocaust, I learned to like myself and like them. I learned to say "I love you" in 10 languages. That was kind of fun. And everything I did in that school for 10 years was mostly fun. I learned Hebrew, I could milk 12 cows, and I could walk with my friends and pick oranges from the trees and eat them. It was a carefree life and the fact that I learned to like who I was (and I was Jewish, so I had to like being Jewish) - maybe that is what psychologists should concentrate on.

GaiusOctaviusII162 karma

Well, shit. This is going to be depressing. I'll try to start off the questions:

  1. Why did you decide to forgive Mengele?
  2. Have you seen the documentary Hitler's Children and if so, what is your opinion of it?
  3. Not sure if you can answer this, but I'll ask anyways: Do you believe Albert Speer truly knew nothing of the Holocaust?
  4. To steer away from the Holocaust questions: Israel had a troubled history for its first few years. How were the conditions there at this time?

Also, guys, please, no Holocaust jokes.

Quick edit: Almost forgot to say thank you for allowing us to ask our questions.

EvaMozesKor422 karma

No it's not going to be depressing. 1. I had decided I had the power. When I recognized 20 years ago in 1994 that I had the power to forgive, which was not clear to me before that, that I could even forgive Mengele, that was a tremendously important thing. As a victim, I didn't think I had any choices. I was hurting, angry, depressed - but I had no choice about how I could feel about life and the world. I discovered with forgiveness that I had a choice to live free from what Mengele, Hitler, the Nazis, or anyone had imposed upon me. It was an extremely empowering, liberating, and healing discovery. The forgiveness is to heal me, not to help Mengele. 2. I have not seen it. 3. Hmm. I really don't know. I wish I knew. It seems strange that he wouldn't know what was going on around him. 4. Israel is a country of 7,500,000 Jews, surrounded by 200 million Arabs, most or many of whom don't want Israel there. Anyone who could survive in a place like that is admirable. I have lived in Israel for 10 years, from 1950-1960, when I was a sergeant major in the Israeli army. I am eternally grateful that I was never tested to see if I could use my weapon to shoot anyone. But I am convinced that survival instincts in me are very strong, and if I had to use my weapon to protect myself, I probably would have used it.

JesusPimpHand129 karma

Forgive me for asking, but what happened to Miriam?

EvaMozesKor321 karma

We both survived Auschwitz. We lived in Romania until 1950, then we went to Israel. We were both drafted into the Israeli army at age 18 in 1952. She studied and became a registered nurse. Got married in 1957, expected her first child in 1960, developed severe kidney problems and infections that did not respond to antibiotic. Second pregnancy in 1963 she got worse. And the doctors found out that Miriam's kidneys never grew larger than the size of a 10 year old child's kidneys. After her 3rd child was born, her kidneys started deteriorating, and by 1987 she had to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant. She put her name on a kidney transplant list. I told her if I would be approved, her search would be over. And I was approved by my doctors in the USA. In November of 1987, I donated my left kidney. We were a perfect match. As all transplantees are, she was given anti-rejection medication. At that hospital near Tel Aviv, they were doing transplants for 10 years and they had 2,000 survivors. All of them were given anti-rejection medication, none developed cancerous polyps. Miriam was the only one. The doctors said if we could find our files that detailed what experiments were done to us and what substances were injected into our bodies, that would be great help. Miriam died June 6, 1993.

It was because of Miriam's health problems that I started the organization called CANDLES - Children of Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors. I thought if I found the other twins, I could find out more about what was done to us. The files and data that Mengele kept seemed to disappear. We found 122 twins living in 10 countries and four continents, but no data. If anyone can help me with it today, I would go anywhere to find that data.

In memory of Miriam, I decided to open CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA, 2 years after she died.

TheManWithCandy126 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA, what was life like after the war? Were you liberated by the Americans or the Soviets?

EvaMozesKor314 karma

We were liberated by the Soviet army. They were a lot better than the Nazis!

I have talked about some of my other experiences after the war in other questions. In communist Romania, those were troubling years. There was not enough food. I was 11 years old. My aunt Irena, who was my father's younger sister, survived Auschwitz. Her husband and grown son did not. She took us in, but this was very difficult for her. She often looked at us, two little kids who survived that horror and her grown son did not. I am sure that entered her mind. But she at least looked after us and helped us get an education. It was a very stressful life with her. The only good thing I remember with her in having fun was going to the opera. She was a very cultured person. I told her I didn't like too much singing, because how do you tell a story by singing? But I got to like Carmen and Rigoletto. We would go every week and I would memorize those arias. Otherwise she was quite strict (and we probably needed someone to teach us how to dress and eat properly). But those were difficult years for her and us. Little food, and inflation. I remember standing in line 8 or 10 hours for bread, and by the time I got to the front, they closed down the counter. So we didn't get any bread. It was very confusing. On another occasion, we needed winter coats desperately. The rumor was that there were going to be coats arriving at the store. We stood in line for 20 hours! It was cold! Finally the store opened, there were 2,000 people in line and only 200 coats! A lady noticed us who was my aunt's friend. She grabbed each one of us, shoved us under the counter with a coat, and said, "Wait till this riot is over." And we got out with coats. These experiences were very difficult. Therefore everyday life was still a struggle. Then the oppressive measures of the communist regime - my uncle was picked up in the middle of the night. He was a survivor who lost all his family at Auschwitz. They did not release him until we were going away and we were getting our visas for Israel. I couldn't call that "normal" life. So no real normal things happened until we got to Israel.

And even in United States it was a struggle. I arrived in 1960. I was very disappointed because I thought everyone in the USA was very very rich and people didn't have to work that hard. Of course I found out differently. I didn't speak the language, didn't know the customs, so I have a lot of funny stories about that.

ReenoBrown99 karma

Were you able to make any "friends?" I'm not sure that's the right word or phrasing. Just a connection with any one inside going through the same experience?

EvaMozesKor237 karma

No. There are two issues involved here. As a child, I don't think I had the energy or the mentality to do anything beyond survival. I never ever talked to another kid or asked "what's your name?" Maybe it was only me, but I believe that children who are abused turn inward. They do not communicate with other people. We didn't trust the world, and how could I trust anybody else. Nor did I have the energy to deal with that. The main focus in the camp was "one more piece of bread" and "how to survive one more day." And that's very, very basic.

therabbitheart82 karma

Eva, I watched your documentary on your experiences on Netflix. You are a very amazing, strong woman. I have no questions, but just wanted to show my love and support for you.

EDIT: Her documentary is talked about in the last part of her post. "Forgiving Dr. Mengele". :( It's no longer on Netflix Instant play though.

EvaMozesKor77 karma

Thank you very much. Spread the idea of forgiveness.

Localidiot71 karma

What has the happiest moment of your life been so far?

EvaMozesKor256 karma

Wow, there are a lot of happy moments. On a daily basis. Yesterday about 4 people stopped by the museum. They were kind of apprehensive and not looking happy. I told them, "You cannot do that here. You can learn what happened and the tragedy, but when you leave here you have to have a smile on your face and hope in your heart."

When we were in the refugee camps, we were in a refugee camp with a lady named Mrs. Csenghery. She helped us get home, which is when we realized we had no one left. But I look at the same world as everyone else. I can see that there is a lot of snow right now in Indiana. But I know in 25 or 30 days, I know that spring will come. So I can look at the world and say, "Okay, we are one day closer to spring." I told these sad people my thought that I just shared with you, and they smiled and hugged me. If I can make one person happy, then that is about as happy as I can be.

If we only focus on the tragedy and how sad we feel, how will people ever realize there is hope after despair, and a tomorrow after disaster? And there is, and we have to remember that.

zjaeyoung67 karma

Had there ever been a doctor to show remorse for what they were doing? Or any nazi officer you met? And thank you for doing this AMA, and thank you for coming out of your terrible experiences with so much forgiveness in your heart.

EvaMozesKor170 karma

In 1993 I met a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz. He was not my doctor but he was a friend of Mengele's. You can find on our website some more information and I will send a link soon. And he did his own experiments as a bacteriologist studying blood. I found that he was willing to meet with me because he was sorry for what happened, and stated so in the letter that he signed at the gas chambers of Auschwitz on January 27, 1995. Please see those documents below.




DrLamLam47 karma

I'm curious, what exactly does the concept of "forgiveness" mean to you?

I ask because everyone here is talking about forgiveness as though it's this one simple thing that everyone understands, and when someone uses the word, everyone acts like they get what that means.

But I really want to know, what does it mean for you? What thoughts and actions does it encompass for you? Does it mean letting go, does it mean not holding people responsible (for some people, that's what forgiveness means), etc.

EvaMozesKor111 karma

I think letting go, but more than that. My concept is more empowering than just "letting go." It means what was done to me by anybody that hurt me means I am not going to let that stop me from being the person I want to be. If that benefits the perpetrator, if they feel liberator by that, that may be good because then they may take responsibility for their actions. But I am not a law enforcement agency, and hanging them or putting them in jail has never stopped any wars. I think if we could make some way of people to take responsibility for their actions, that would be much more helpful. But what I am concerned about, rather than the perpetrator, are the victims. I do not want them to be victims for the rest of their lives. If we focused half as much energy on helping the victims rather than what we should do with the perpetrators, the world would be better off, because victims have a tendency to pass on their pain and anger to their children and grandchildren, and they want to take revenge against the children and grandchildren of the perpetrators. It becomes and endless, vicious cycle. People who forgive are at peace with themselves and peace with the world. That is the hope that I have - that most victims will be able to accomplish that, or at least we teach them that it is an option available to them. I cannot do forgiveness for anyone but myself, so everyone has that choice, and that choice is very important to have.

Here is what I wrote about forgiveness - what I mean and don't mean:

Forgiveness is a way of healing oneself from pain, trauma, and/or tragedy. It is a means of self-liberation and self-empowerment.

Forgiving is not forgetting. It is in many cases impossible to forget events that deeply affect us. They shape our lives for better or worse. In the case of the Holocaust, it is important to remember and educate so it cannot happen again.

Forgiving does not mean that we condone the evil deeds of the Nazis and/or other perpetrators, nor does it mean we wish them to be granted amnesty or political asylum. The question of justice is separate from the issue of forgiveness.

This concept of forgiveness has little or nothing to do with the perpetrators. It has everything to do with the need of victims to be free from the pain inflicted upon them.

This concept of forgiveness has nothing to do with any religion. All people yearn to live free of the pain and burden of the past. If it is confined to one religion, or any religion, then some people will not be able to access it.

Each person can forgive only in his or her own name. One cannot forgive in the name of all Holocaust survivors, nor can one forgive someone for something he or she did to someone else. One can only forgive for what was done to him or her. It is a personal act.

Forgiveness is not a way to counteract violence, to provide safety in the midst of violence or to advocate non-violence necessarily. When we feel our lives are in danger, most people will do everything they can to maintain their lives. Forgiveness is something to consider after the trauma has occurred.

Forgiveness is more than “letting go.” It is proactive rather than passive. We become victims involuntarily, when a person or entity with power takes away our power to use our mind and body in the way we choose. Something was done to us that put us in a position of feeling powerless. Thus the conscious choice to forgive provides healing, liberation, and reclamation of this power.

EditingAndLayout38 karma

What did people do to try to adjust to Auschwitz? How did they try to keep up their spirits up?

EvaMozesKor44 karma

Most didn't keep their spirits up. Survival took all the energy one had. Once the airplanes from the allies started coming and the Nazis started running, we felt more hopeful. By that time we were skin and bones, on "The Auschwitz diet."

Vaunt17 karma

How many other twins were with you in Auschwitz and what kind of experiments did the Nazi's perform on you?

EvaMozesKor22 karma

In our barrack we had about 200 or 300, but there were different barracks according to age and sex. According to the Auschwitz Museum, they used 1500 sets. The experiments were trying to figure out how to create the perfect race in multiple numbers, and also to test certain medicines. Mengele was also testing to see if he could have complete control over reproductive systems, so he would test to see if he could turn boys into girls and vice versa, but using blood transfusions and other methods. I have talked more about the experiments above.