Seymour resident remembers Holocaust survivor Eva Kor


Not even death can dim Holocaust survivor Eva Kor’s light.

It continues to shine for people like Seymour resident Charles Moman, who met Kor seven years ago.

Kor was a Jewish native of Romania who was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944 at the age of 10. She lost most of her family there, but she and her twin sister, Miriam, survived.

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In 1985, she founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute. Kor wanted to share their story along with other twins who were subjected to inhumane medical experiments at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele, nicknamed the Angel of Death.

Instead of hate and vengeance, though, Kor advocated for love and forgiveness in order to heal. Her life’s work was about transforming prejudice to create a world free from hatred and genocide.

“She was very controversial among some Holocaust survivors with her teaching about forgiveness, but she stayed true to that concept and cause,” Moman said.

Kor died July 4 in Krakow, Poland, while on an annual educational trip with CANDLES. She was 85.

While her health had recently improved, she had undergone heart surgery this year and dealt with respiratory issues.

Moman was shocked to hear of her death.

“A close friend of mine texted me to offer sympathy,” he said. “Almost immediately I started to get messages from friends who knew Eva. It was just soul crushing to hear the news.”

But Kor has the power to live on and to change people’s thoughts and actions through her teachings, he said.

“The Holocaust is such a prime example of how easy it is to see someone or a group of people as others, which can lead to indifference, prejudice, hatred and even mass murder,” Moman said. “Understanding this concept, I believe, can help children and adults to learn that our words and attitudes are so important and can lead to suffering and tragedy or worse, if left unchecked, without a moral compass.”

Moman, a retired music teacher, met Kor during the summer of 2012 while attending a three-day workshop for Lilly Teacher Fellows at Indiana State University. He had no idea what their friendship would come to mean to him.

“One day, we had field trips we could choose from, so I chose to go to the CANDLES Holocaust Museum,” he said. “My eyes were opened wide that day to the Holocaust through her talk because I knew next to nothing about it.”

He learned for the first time about the Auschwitz death camp and Mengele’s experiments on twins.

After introducing himself to Kor, Moman told her that he also was a twin and that there was a second set of twins in his family.

“Eva’s immediate response was ‘Oh, Charles, Dr. Mengele would have loved you,’” Moman said. “Later, this would become a running joke between us, and she said it to me many times, including in one of my last emails from her a couple weeks ago. Only Eva could get away with that kind of dark humor.”

While recovering from a near-fatal auto accident in 2014, Moman began to watch Holocaust documentaries on Netflix, including one about Eva called “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.”

That fall, he signed up to attend the 70th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz with Kor.

In January 2015, three years after meeting her, Moman traveled with Kor to the site of the former concentration camp.

“The impact it had on my life was profound,” he said.

After returning to Indiana, he began giving presentations about his trip and felt he needed to know more. So in the summer of 2015, he went back to Poland by himself to spend a full week at Auschwitz. He ended up joining Eva and her summer tour group at the end of that trip.

“I will miss her dearly but feel so blessed to have gone to Auschwitz with her twice and then last fall to Romania with a small group to her home village and other related Eva sites,” he said.

He described Kor as “very short, feisty, opinionated, intellectual and a funny woman who loved people.”

“For many of us, she was just so easy to quickly love — forever,” he said.

Moman kept all of the emails he received from Kor and treasures each one, especially those from the past six months.

“She was thrilled about the upcoming birth of our twin granddaughters in Colorado,” he said. “They were born two days after Eva’s death.”

Moman said so many people’s lives, including his own, were positively impacted by Kor. But it doesn’t make what happened to her any easier for people to digest.

“Eva’s story is so compelling and can be tough to hear,” he said. “Eva’s theme throughout her talks is that despite hardships, even her extreme experiences at Auschwitz, that people can find freedom for their lives. Her teaching about forgiving others who have harmed you, in order to free yourself from your past, has transformed the lives of thousands. Doing that is not easy, but Eva’s life proves it is possible.”

Moman said her talks not only helped others, but allowed her to heal, as well.

Since 2015, Moman has been all over the state to give his “Journey to Auschwitz” photojournalism presentations at public libraries and schools.

He plans to add more of Eva’s remarkable life story into his talks.

“I always pushed my audiences to go to Terre Haute and CANDLES Holocaust Museum to hear Eva share it in person,” he said. “I sadly can no longer do that.”

Moman plans to continue to donate 100% of his speaking honorariums to CANDLES and raised more than $13,000 for the museum in 2015 by participating in a 50-mile run.

“I will continue to do my talks about Eva, Auschwitz and the Holocaust across Indiana and hopefully beyond,” he said. “My life has become so enriched because of knowing Eva Kor and our experiences together.”

He recommends anyone wanting to learn more about Kor and CANDLES to visit the museum’s website at

“The museum has excellent exhibits, and you can visit with Eva via an outstanding technology setup with a life-sized screen and computer system,” Moman said. “Through a microphone, you can ask Eva any questions, and thousands of answers are available for her to answer you.”

There’s also a new WFYI documentary, “Eva A-7063,” that he hopes to bring to Seymour for a public showing in 2020.

Moman will always remember Kor for the source of strength and truth she was to many but also as the friend she was to him.

“I loved her sense of humor, her always inquisitive mind, her private emails to me and her purposeful caring for others, especially those who had suffered trauma in their lives,” he said. “She wanted those people to know they did not have to live their lives as victims but could live a life of freedom.”

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