Holocaust survivor Eva Kor has passed away at the age of 85 years old. The forgiveness advocate passed away in Poland on July 4.
Kor and her twin sister endured the atrocities of twin experiments at Auschwitz. Her death was announced in a statement from CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which Eva founded.
Kor and her sister were liberated by the Soviet army on Jan. 27, 1945. Sadly, they were the only ones in their family who survived. Their two sisters, mother, and father were all killed at Auschwitz.
The statement said she died “peacefully” on July 4 at 7:10 a.m. local time in Krakow, Poland. She was on her annual CANDLES trip.
“Eva Kor has touched hundreds of thousands of people over her 85 years through her message of overcoming tragedy, finding forgiveness, and healing,” the statement read. “Surviving the Holocaust at age 10 meant that Eva emerged from a childhood full of fear, loss, grief, and displacement.”
At 10 years old, Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were subjected to “horrific and inhumane” experiments conducted on twins by doctor Josef Mengele. Mengele is described as the "Angel of Death," and he was one of the most notorious war criminals of World War II.
After the war, Eva pushed forward. She served eight years in the Israeli army, married another Holocaust survivor, and later moved to Terre Haute, Indiana.
The couple had two children, and Eva pursued a career in real estate for 34 years. Upon viewing the 1978 NBC miniseries The Holocaust, Eva decided to use her past to pave the way for her future.
According to PEOPLE, "she began searching for Dr. Mengele’s files, which allowed for his experiments to be brought into the spotlight. She followed those findings up with speaking arrangements across the world to help educate those on the atrocities of the Holocaust, as well as in documentaries, where she detailed the suffering she and Miriam endured."
“Miriam and I were part of a group of children who were alive for one reason only — to be used as human guinea pigs,” she wrote in a remembrance piece for the Forgiveness Project, according to The New York Times. “Three times a week we’d be placed naked in a room, for six to eight hours, to be measured and studied.”
She continued, “They took blood from one arm and gave us injections in the other. After one such injection, I became very ill and was taken to the hospital. If I had died, Mengele would have given Miriam a lethal injection in order to do a double autopsy. When I didn’t die, he carried on experimenting with us and as a result, Miriam’s kidneys stopped growing. They remained the size of a child’s all her life.”
In 1995, Eva helped found the CANDLE Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, which, according to its website, was opened “with a mission to prevent prejudice and hatred through education about the Holocaust.”
“The themes of Eva’s life are apparent,” the CANDLE statement added of its late founder. “We can overcome hardship and tragedy. Forgiveness can help us to heal. And everyone has the power and responsibility to make this world a better place.”