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‘I Refused to Die’: Holocaust Survivor’s Stunning Message About the Power of Forgiveness

04-23-2017
Eva Kor
Eva Kor

A Holocaust survivor who was awarded by the governor of Indiana for her advocacy work and her stunning willingness to forgive her Nazi captors delivered a passionate, must-read message to every member of Congress during her acceptance speech last week.

Eva Kor, 83, who was given the Sachem Award by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, the highest award in the state, asked Holcomb during last Thursday’s award ceremony to help her get a message to everyone in Congress, WRTV-TV reported.

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“I would like to tell them we all must stop fighting with each other and try to help one another,” she said to rousing applause. “If they keep fighting, they cannot help the Americans.”

And she wasn’t done there, taking aim at people on all sides of the political divide.

“I don’t care if you are on the left, on the right, in the middle — whatever direction your political affiliation is — you are sent to Congress to help run this country and help the American people,” she added, according to the Indy Star. “If all Americans cannot get along, who on Earth is going to do all the healing in the world? We should serve as an example. We are not an example. We are backstabbing.”

And Kor knows a thing or two about forgiveness and kindness, as she and her twin sister Miriam were taken along with their family to Auschwitz back in 1944 when they were just 10 years old. It was there in the concentration camp that they endured the horrors of Dr. Josef Mengele, a German doctor who experimented on Jews.

“The first night in Auschwitz, I was shocked to see dead children on the latrine floor,” she said during last Thursday’s award ceremony. “I made a silent pledge that I would do everything in my power to make sure Miriam and I survived and walked out of the camp alive.”

Kor has said in the past that she was essentially used as a “human guinea pig,” according to WXIN-TV, recounting how she was once injected with a deadly germ while inside Auschwitz, leaving doctors there saying she had just weeks to live.

But Kor said she wouldn’t give up, fearing the doctors would kill her twin if she perished.

“I refused to die,” she said in the 2006 documentary “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.”

Watch some of her comments during Thursday’s event below:

 

Decades after surviving the death camp alongside Miriam and subsequently moving to the U.S., Kor is further discussing her 1995 decision to forgive Mengele and the others who killed and tormented so many.

“Nobody ever wants to be a victim but there are victims in the world and if I can give them one gift they can use is to try to forgive and heal themselves,” Kor said, according to WXIN-TV. “That to me is the greatest gift I can give anybody to how to deal with their pain and liberate themselves.”

She also shared some important insights about forgiveness in the aforementioned documentary, including her belief that it “has nothing to do with the perpetrator” nor religion. Instead, she said “It has only everything to do with the way the victim is empowering himself or herself and taking back their life.”

Kor repeatedly stressed that forgiveness is both “self-healing” and liberating. Read more about her story here.

(H/T: WXIN-TV)

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About Billy Hallowell: Billy Hallowell has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite and on FoxNews.com, among other outlets. Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.

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