“Practice what you preach.”
It’s an old saying, and 83-year-old Holocaust survivor Eva Kor takes it to heart. She recently used her own award ceremony to preach a passionate message of forgiveness to Congress, and her incredible story is one that’s all about forgiveness.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently awarded Kor the Sachem Award, the state’s highest honor. The Holocaust survivor received the recognition for her years of advocacy work, as well as her incredible willingness to extend forgiveness to the Nazis who captured her during the Holocaust.
Kor’s Story of Forgiveness
Kor knows a little about kindness and forgiveness. In 1944, at the age of 10, she, her twin sister, and the rest of the family were taken to Auschwitz. When the family arrived, her parents and older sisters were led from the selection platform to the gas chambers, and Kor and her sister Miriam were taken to Mengele’s laboratory where they were experimented on like lab rats.
According to Kor, the twins were used as “human guinea pigs,” and at one point, she was injected with a deadly germ by doctors who thought she’d never live more than a few weeks.
But Kor refused to give up. In the documentary “Forgiving Dr. Mengele,” she said “I refused to die,” choosing to keep fighting to make sure her twin sister survived the horrors of Mengele’s laboratory.
For decades, Kor dealt with bitterness, struggling to forgive Mengele. Her twin sister passed away in 1993 from a lung problem Kor felt was a result of Mengeles experiments, and Eva had regular nightmares that her sister was suffocating to death. She’d lost her entire family, and in the middle of her anguish, nightmares, and bitterness she found a cure – forgiveness.
“I discovered I had one power…any victim, any person hurt, you have that same power. You have the power to forgiveness,” Kor said.
And really, perhaps the term “forgiveness” doesn’t do what Kor preaches justice – it’s more like some form of self-liberation and self-healing.
Forgiveness not only saved Kor, it became the inspiration for everything in her life. She’s given thousands of lectures, sharing her message of forgiveness with rape victims, racism victims, Cuban exiles, bullied teens, and targets of homophobia.
Preaching Forgiveness to Congress
It hasn’t been enough for Kor to preach her message of forgiveness to thousands of people across the country and the world – she also wanted to get her message inside the halls of Congress. Her recent awards ceremony, which took place at the Indiana War Memorial, offered her the perfect opportunity to preach forgiveness to the nation’s lawmakers, and she asked the governor for help getting her message out.
In her heavily accented English, which holds a mix of German, Hebrew, Romanian, French, Hungarian, and Russian, she told people “I would like to beat some sense into their heads.”
Despite her age and her small stature, you got the feeling that she has what it takes to really work over Congress.
“I would like to tell them we all must stop fighting with each other and try to help one another,” Kor added, pointing out that the continual fighting in Washington meant that politicians weren’t helping the American people. And she wants Congress, and the United States, to be an example of getting along.
“Do we want the United States to exist as a shining example to the world that we can get along with one another – even though we don’t agree on everything?” she asked.
Kor didn’t take political sides either. In fact, she noted that she didn’t care what political affiliation lawmakers had – if they’re in Congress, they should be working to help the American people and serve as examples to the rest of the world, regardless of political party. She doesn’t care who gets the blame. She doesn’t care who gets the credit. Instead, she says, “I want the results.”
Congress should take note. Kor’s message of forgiveness is a powerful one. And she’s not done yet. She wants and actual audience with Congress to share her story and preach her message. And that message of forgiveness is one that Congress, and the world, needs to hear.
~ 1776 Christian