VALPARAISO | Students from Porter County middle and high schools packed the auditorium at Valparaiso High School on Friday morning and sat mesmerized as they heard horrifying and hopeful stories of survival from Eva Mozes Kor.
It was only because of her willingness to never give up that Mozes Kor and her late identical twin, Miriam Mozes, survived deadly genetic experiments conducted by Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death, a Nazi at Auschwitz during WWII.
“Dying in Auschwitz was very, very easy. Survival was a full-time job,” Mozes Kor told the students during the program that was sponsored by Iota Chapter of Tri Kappa.
She rolled up her sleeve to bear the tattoo on her arm given to her by the Nazis, A-7063 — her sister was A-7064, and Mozes Kor explained that they were chosen for Mengele’s medical experiments, rather than immediate extermination like the rest of the Jews at Auschwitz including her entire family, because the sisters were identical twins.
“On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for six to eight hours we were stripped naked and every part of my body was measured, compared to my sister's and compared to charts. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays we went to the blood lab where my arms were tied down and blood was taken from my right arm, a minimum of five injections given in my left arm,” she said, noting that still to this day she does not know what the injections were, but they made her and her sister extremely ill to the point of near-death.
Mozes Kor told of rats and corpses on the latrine floor and her ability to cope because she, as a 10-year-old child, didn’t have knowledge of the war or larger perspective — she thought every child experienced the horrors she and her sister and some 1,500 other sets of twins experienced.
Only 200 sets of twins survived and Mozes Kor said that her endurance came from sustaining an image of she and her sister walking out of the camp alive.
“It was an image that I kept until we were liberated,” she said, although liberation was also confusing and difficult in the days and years that followed.
She shared with the students three life lessons—to never ever give up on yourself and your dreams, the dangers of prejudice, and the ability to forgive and she shared her story of forgiving the Nazis.
“All the pain was lifted when I forgave. I was no longer a victim of Auschwitz,” she said.
Jacob Beard, a junior at Westville High School, a WWII history enthusiast said, "I’m extremely honored to be here. It’s hard to go through the Holocaust, it’s hard to forgive what they did to you, but then it’s even harder to relive it over and over by talking about it.”
Sean Kurth, Beard’s friend stated, “You could hear her emotions. I’m going to take a lot away from this. I will probably forgive people because if she can do it after years of this, then I can do it.”
His friend Devin Barber remarked, “They didn’t break her.”