Living History, Learning Forgiveness


Next Friday, Sept. 23, World History students and teachers at Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School will meet Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor, surviving Mengele twin, forgiveness advocate and public speaker. She will present in the school’s Mall Auditorium, beginning at 11:30 a.m., as part of a special forgiveness-themed weekend, sponsored by three South Suburban Jewish congregations. B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood, Congregation Am Echad in Homewood and Temple Anshe Sholom in Olympia Fields have joined together to host the international touring exhibit, The F Word: Stories of Forgiveness, next weekend Sept. 23-25.

Originally from Romania and now a resident of Indiana, Eva Mozes Kor is powered by a never-give-up attitude. Her trauma-filled childhood began in Portz, Romania, in 1934. Ten years later when her country was under the control of Nazi Germany, her family was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. There she and her twin, Miriam, were selected as part of a group of children used in experiments under the direction of Dr. Josef Mengele, M.D. When the Soviet Army liberated the camp in 1945, Eva and Miriam were two of approximately 180 children found alive. In 1984, the twins founded CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors), through which they located 122 other Mengele twins, and in 1995 founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Ind. Her presentation at H-F will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

According to Carl Coates, Homewood-Flossmoor’s department chair of Social Science, this is a rare and memorable opportunity for students.

“Sometimes history seems intangible and inaccessible for students,” he says. “We as teachers try hard to bring historical events to life and are constantly searching for ways to engage students. However, no experience in class matches the opportunity to hear an individual tell her story and share her experiences. H-F is very fortunate to have Eva Kor talking with so many of our students. This event will help make a seminal event of the history of the 20th century palpable, while learning about the power of forgiveness.”


In addition to the presentation at Homewood-Flossmoor, other area Stories of Forgiveness events include:

• Eva Mozes Kor will speak at Temple Anshe Sholom (2080 S. Western Ave., Olympia Fields) on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:15 p.m., preceded by Shabbat Services that start at 6:45 p.m.

• Louisa Hext, North American coordinator of The F Word photo exhibit, will speak at B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m., promptly after Selichot Services that begin at 6:45 p.m.

• The F Word: Stories of Forgiveness Photo Exhibit is now on display through Friday, Sept. 30, at B’Nai Yehuda Beth Sholom (1424 W. 183rd St., Homewood). It is open to the public by appointment and before and after scheduled programming at the temple. According to Brian Zakem, chair of the South Suburan Forgiveness Program & Project, the exhibit is a program of The Forgiveness Project from London, England, which is a thought-provoking collection of arresting images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity.

For more information about the Forgiveness Project or Weekend of Forgiveness, please contact Brian Zakem at 708-799-3374, Primary funding for the weekend was made possible from the Jewish United Fund of Chicago Serving Our Communities.