DALLAS TWP. — When Eva Kor was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp with her twin sister Miriam, she was determined to do three things — survive, prove Dr. Josef Mengele wrong, and give the guards as much trouble as a 10-year-old girl could.
Kor’s shared the silent pledges she made in 1944 at a sold-out Lemmond Theater at Misericordia University in Dallas Township on Tuesday night. The lecture, entitled “The Triumph of the Human Spirit from Auschwitz to Forgiveness,” featured her story of being Mengele’s human guinea pig.
“I am a survivor of Auschwitz, a survivor of medical experiments by Dr. Mengele and now that I am 83 years old — I am trying to survive old age,” she said.
Kor recounted the day her family was taken from its home in a small town in Transylvania, Romania, by Nazi soldiers.
Kor’s father, Alexander Mozes, was 44; mother Jaffa was 38; and sisters Edit and Aliz were 14 and 12, respectively. Kor and her twin sister Miriam were the youngest — only 10 when they were taken to the “Auschwitz death camp,” she said.
“We were loaded into a cattle car,” she recalled.
Kor remembered hearing Nazi soldiers speaking in German when the train arrived at the Auschwitz camp in Poland.
“As soon as we stepped out of the cattle car and onto a cement platform, my mother grabbed my twin sister and me by the hands on each side of her hoping that she could protect us,” she said. “As I looked around, I realized my father and two older sisters were gone, and I never saw them again.”
The girls were soon separated from their mother by a Nazi soldier who determined they were twins.
“Our screaming and pleading fell on deaf ears,” Kor said. “I looked back at her and saw her arms extended. I never got to say goodbye to her.”
Kor and Miriam joined a group of children ranging from ages 2 to 16 who became human medical test subjects.
Over the next several months, Miriam and Kor endured visits to a lab three times a week where doctors injected unknown substances into them. On other days, the girls were taken into another room where they stripped naked and had parts of their bodies measured.
After one trip to the lab, Kor became very sick with a high fever. The fever increased, and doctors noted her illness. She was told she had two weeks to live. She vowed to survive and rejoin her sister.
“I did spoil the experiment, and I survived,” she said.
In January 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the camp. Kor and her sister were among 200 children released.
Kor’s journey to forgive Dr. Mengele did not start until the mid-1990s.
“It made me feel good (to forgive Mengele),” she said. “All that pain I carried for 50 years was lifted.”