Pilgrimage to the Past: Local Holocaust Survivor Returns to Auschwitz

By Kyle Inskeep

Published 08/01 2014 02:15PM

Updated 08/01 2014 02:33PM

"I don't have any more pain, my pain is long gone," Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor said.

But the memories of Kor's eight months as a prisoner here at the Auschwitz concentration camp remain intact.

"My mother grabbed my twin sister and me by the hand, we were her youngest children and I was standing here trying to figure out what on earth is this place," Kor said. 

It's the place her mother, father, and two of her siblings were murdered.

The place where she and her twin sister Miriam were used as human guinea pigs.

And the place she found forgiveness more than a decade ago.

"I said you monster, you miserable, you murderer. You are the most despicable human being, but I forgive you. And I said wow, that feels good," Kor said. 

Every summer Eva returns to Auschwitz.

She shares her story with anyone and everyone.

Including a group of young German school children who appear to carry the shame of Adolf Hitler.

"What Hitler left you, the Nazis left you. No young people ever deserved to deal with it. It's tough enough to grow up anyway, right? Live your life in such a way that you do some good," Kor said.

Her latest trip included a special stop.

A visit to her hometown, the village of Portz, Romania.

A visit fit for a queen, Complete with fanfare, flowers, and an all out media circus.

"Going to my village, I didn't really know what to expect," Kor said.

That's because when the Nazis raided the village and captured her family, no one said a word.

"They could have maybe hid us in our own mountains, but nobody tried to do it. We needed help," Kor said. 

Things were much different this time around.

"There's a new law in Romania, which says those that had land are going to receive it back," A translator explained to Eva. 


Because land that was owned by her family and then taken by the Romanian communists was now back in the family once again. 

"It is very touching even if it's just a little piece, not even one percent, of what my parents owned but it's a little piece of what was my parents and now it belongs to me, it's in my name," Kor said. 

And her trip home wouldn't be complete without a visit to her former school.

A place she hadn't been inside in nearly 70 years.

"Very strange, in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I was actually sitting as a student here," Kor said.

But this time she was back as a teacher.

Using her life as the lesson

"If you look back at your own lives you're going to find that it's very similar, that all beginnings are very very difficult but if you stick it out and make the best of it you will become a success," Kor said. 


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