Terre Haute, IN has many different attractions, restaurants, and even a college campus. But there is something else that has been an interest to me for many years, and that is a tiny landmark that holds a whole world waiting to be experienced: the CANDLES Holocaust Museum.
CANDLES is actually an acronym for the museum: Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors. Eva Kor, the founder of the museum, is the cornerstone of the museum’s existence and success. She is a survivor of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and specifically, a surviving twin of the Josef Mengele experiments at the camp. She and her twin sister conceptualized the idea for the museum as a way to seek out other surviving twins around the world and hear their stories about the camp, surviving, and rebuilding a life.
The museum is unique in many ways. For example, you can go and hear Eva personally deliver her story. She has an extremely sharp recollection of how the experience has affected her life and she tells her story in a way that anyone who comes to hear it can connect with her. She delivers her story to kids, adults, groups, and individuals. She wants to tell all she can about the lessons she has learned through her experience. You even have the opportunity to accompany Eva on a trip back to Auschwitz to hear her personal tour of her experience and memories of the camp.
She is not the only survivor you can meet. You can also hear the stories of her husband, Mickey Kor, and his experience at a different camp, or get a wonderful tour from Walter Sommers and learn about his story. The museum also hosts a variety of films and guest speakers open to the community and public on many different topics related to the Holocaust, war, genocide, and so forth.
The museum has displays as well, so you can spend some time reading about the Holocaust, the experiments, Eva’s life, and many more important topics. You can hear about the museum’s history, such as when it was burned down by a supported of Timothy McVeigh and how the community worked together with Eva to rebuild and renew the museum’s life in the town.
Eva also has developed her story into a greater life lessons of respect, equality, and peace, and about her own journey to forgiveness of the Nazis and Mengele. I could not do the message justice by simply summarizing what she has to say. You should go and experience her and her message in person for an education that truly leaves an impression.
For more information on the museum, visit their website: http://www.candlesholocaustmuseum.org/