INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Work has already started on a mural of Eva Mozes Kor that will adorn the side of the 500 Festival Building in downtown Indianapolis.

Kor, a Holocaust survivor, forgiveness advocate and Hoosier hero, died last year at the age of 85. The building located at 21 Virginia Ave. will bear her likeness to recognize her as a champion of human rights.

Pamela Bliss, the Hoosier artist behind outdoor murals of Kurt Vonnegut, Reggie Miller and John Mellencamp, will paint the mural. A group of volunteers known as “Team Eva” led fundraising efforts, working with individual donors and philanthropic groups to make the mural a reality.

Once completed, Kor, who stood 4’9” in real life, will be approximately 53 feet tall. Work on the mural began last week and is expected to wrap up by the end of November. spoke with Kor’s son, Alex Kor, who helped paint a couple of strokes Friday to kick off the start of the mural.

“My hope is that my mom’s presence in downtown Indianapolis on the side of the 500 festival building will serve as a beacon of light, considering the social unrest we’ve had in our country, in particular downtown Indianapolis,” he said. “I’m hopeful her presence in the city of Indianapolis on the side of this building will serve to unite all communities.”

Alex Kor says although the large honor in Indianapolis, that the art will not supersede or take the place of the work being done at CANDLES Museum in Terre Haute.

From the organizers:

The mural will be based off of a photo of Eva that was taken during one of her many visits to Auschwitz. Everyone driving or walking up Delaware Street, up Virginia toward the Circle, or traveling along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, will be met by the beaming face of one of the most inspirational Hoosiers in history and her signature message of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness. The installation will also include plaques with Eva’s story and life lessons.

Kor was born in Portz, Romania. When she was 10 years old, she was imprisoned at Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. She and her twin sister were subjected to medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengale.

After the camp’s liberation, Kor eventually moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where she lived for 59 years. She began sharing her story with schools in 1978, eventually becoming a vocal advocate for Holocaust survivors.

When she returned to Auschwitz in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of its liberation, she publicly forgave the Nazis—a key moment that would define her forever.

Over the years, Kor has been honored with numerous awards, including the Sachem. She was the subject of a documentary on WFYI and has been the focus of several books.

In 2017, she served as grand marshal of the IPLD 500 Festival Parade. Two years later, she was the official pacesetter for the 2019 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon—making her the only person in the 60+ year history of the 500 Festival to serve in both roles.