If you are from Indiana, there is, quite literally, no excuse to be unaware of the iconic presence of Eva Mozes Kor.
At the age of 10, Kor survived the twin experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.
At the age of 50, she helped launch the biggest manhunt in history.
Still spry and enthusiastic at the age of 84, Kor lives her life with a sense of urgency as she tirelessly travels the globe sharing the almost unfathomable lesson that her life journey has taught her - healing through forgiveness.
Directed by Indiana-based filmmaker Ted Green, Eva is a remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman who, rather remarkably, has come to call Indiana home after a life journey that took her from her birthplace in Romania into the Auschwitz concentration camp where she stayed with her sister Miriam until the camp was liberated by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945. After being freed from Auschwitz, she would return to Romania before transplanting herself in Israel where she would meet and marry American Michael Kor, also a Holocaust survivor, and, yes, eventually she found her way to Terre Haute, Indiana where in 1984 she founded CANDLES, a Holocaust museum and educational center.
If Kor had only survived Mengele's harrowing experiments with her humanity intact, her story would be a remarkable one worthy of the international acclaim that has included four of Indiana's own highest honors including two Sagamore of the Wabash Awards, a a Distinguished Hoosier Award, and the Sachem Award, Indiana's actual highest honor.
However, Kor has done more than simply survive. She has thrived. She has thrived as a human. She has thrived as a woman. She has thrived as a Hoosier and an American and as a survivor and as an activist and, yes, as someone whose life experiences have shaped every aspect of who she is yet somehow never actually defined her.
Eva Mozes Kor is remarkable and you actually feel that remarkableness if you're in the same room with her whether that's 1:1 or simply sitting in an audience listening to her share her story.
Eva, which had its world premiere at Butler University in Indy earlier in 2018, has since been on the festival circuit ahead of a planned WFYI televised screening on October 25th. The film is narrated by Edward Asner, possibly because there's practically no one else who could narrate such an iconic story. The film, directed with intuitive insight by Ted Green, also includes interviews with Holocaust experts, celebrities whose lives she's touched such as Wolf Blitzer and Elliott Gould, a myriad of young people whose lives she has changed and, yes, her fellow survivors, some supporters and some detractors.
At 88 minutes in length, which I believe is somewhat tightened from its April debut, Eva is a tad longer than the usual public television feature doc yet its length allows the story room to breathe and to weave its spirit into your psyche. One of the magical things about Kor is that she's remarkably human, preaching forgiveness and living into it fully yet also able to easily tap into a justifiable sense of rage and loss and grief and everything else one might feel from life experiences that the vast majority of us could never imagine here in the U.S.
At the age of 84, the 4'9" spirited survivor continues to fight the good fight despite recent health challenges and the now familiar presence of the walker that serves as a constant companion.
Kor, quite simply, is amazing and Eva, quite simply, captures Kor in all her complexities as a woman whose ability to forgive, but certainly not forget, is helping to make the world a better place.
Eva is screening three times during the Heartland International Film Festival:
- Oct. 12th @ 1:15pm - AMC Castleton Square 14
- Oct. 14th @ 12:30pm - AMC Showplace Traders Point 12
- Oct. 18th @ 7pm - The Toby at Newfields
For ticket information, visit the Heartland International Film Festival website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic