Last week, I went on a field trip with my class to CANDLES Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. My class is about Nazi Germany, and CANDLES stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors. I got to listen and speak with an 82-year-old survivor from Auschwitz, her name is Eva Kor. It's so hard to even put into words my experience. It really is something that can only be experienced.
Before attending the museum, we learned about her in class and what kinds of things she experienced in Auschwitz. Eva and her family were sent to Auschwitz, and were immediately separated. Eva and her twin sister never saw the rest of her family again. Because Eva and her twin, Miriam, were twins, they were selected to be experimented on. These two sisters were only ten years old, and although they lived, what they experienced was a nightmare.
Dr. Mengele experimented on twins so that he could help the Nazis build a superior Aryan race, and with twins, the race would be produced quicker. Eva and Miriam were injected with drugs and lethal chemicals. They were also examined for hours at a time. Other twins had to undergo amputations and other surgical procedures without anesthesia.
So, going into this field trip, I was expecting to listen to Eva, and although I already knew some of her story, to cry and feel heartbroken for her. Don't get me wrong, I did, but I also felt inspired. I won't give too much away because I really think everyone should visit themselves.
I listened to Eva speak for three hours, but it felt only like minutes. Her story was so intriguing and captivating that it just consumes you. But at the very end, she spoke about her three life lessons:
1. Anything you want to do in life, don't give up.
2. Learn to forgive.
3. Be kind.
This really spoke volumes of Eva's character. She talked about her burning desire to live for her and her sister. That is how she lived through the concentration camp until they were liberated. She related her story to everyone in the audience, to find our passions and pursue them. She forgave the Nazis for what happened to her and millions of others. It made me realize the stupid grudges I hold that are pointless. I've never been through anything that even comes close to her trauma, so I am trying to work on that too. Finally, be kind. It's simple. She says to be kind to people and take care of yourself. The world can never have too much kindness, and this is something I am working on as well.
Listening to Eva makes me want to be a better person, and I suggest everyone visits CANDLES Museum, so you can not only be in the presence of a survivor, but to also feel inspired.