If you'd like to donate, Terre Haute`s First National Bank has set up a rebuilding fund.

I N   T H E   N E W S
November 25, 2003


Vow to Rebuild Burned Holocaust Museum




ERRE HAUTE, Ind., Nov. 22 -- An Auschwitz survivor has vowed to rebuild a Holocaust museum here that was destroyed by a suspicious fire early last Tuesday.

"We'll at least open as good as it was before, but I think it will be even better," said the owner, Eva Mozes Kor. "Even if it takes the last pennies in my account, it will open."


Eva Mozes Kor
in the ruins of the museum she built to preserve the memory of child Holocaust survivors.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case as domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime because "Remember Timmy McVeigh" was found scrawled on a wall of the museum, said Doug Garrison, spokesman for the bureau's Indianapolis office.

Timothy J. McVeigh, executed in Terre Haute in 2001 for his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, was "the quintessential domestic terrorist," Mr. Garrison said.

The Anti-Defamation League is offering $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. "Without a doubt, we view this as a hate crime," Richard Hirschhaut, the league's Midwest director, said. "We believe this was a deliberate act of hate and those who committed it were hellbent on destroying a place of enlightenment and virtue."

On Saturday, Ms. Kor, a 69-year-old twin who was used in a number of painful experiments by the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele, sifted through the blackened remains of the museum, which honors children who survived the Holocaust. Most of the memorabilia were ruined. Hundreds of copies of Ms. Kor's book, "Echoes From Auschwitz," were charred and soggy, but she did recover a gift from schoolchildren who had visited the museum: an angel holding a banner that read "Peace."

Ms. Kor, who bears a blurred number A-7063 on her arm, said she had forgiven the Nazis and her next task was to forgive those who had destroyed the tiny museum. "I am working on it," she said. "As long as I am holding on to that pain, I am not free from it."

Since the museum opened eight years ago, roughly 5,000 people a year have visited the 3,600-square-foot site, called Candles (Children of Auschwitz-Nazi's Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors).

When Ms. Kor learned of the fire, she said her first thought was, Why me? "But immediately after that," she said, "I thought I have only two choices when I see anything tragic: be destroyed by it or rise above it."

Two vigils have been held in her honor, and supporters have sent a few thousand dollars by mail.

Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said 12 such groups were active in Indiana. "Hard-line sympathizers of mass murderers like Tim McVeigh are very much alive and well in this country," Mr. Potok said. "With all of this attention paid to foreign terrorism post-9/11, people tend to have forgotten that there is a real subculture of people in this country who believe that Jews need killing and who see Tim McVeigh as having entered the pantheon of great Aryan heroes."

Ms. Kor, who is from Transylvania, was deported with her family to Auschwitz in 1944. Her mother, father and two of her sisters died there.

But Ms. Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, survived and were subjected to painful tests and experiments performed by Dr. Mengele for nearly a year. Ms. Kor recalls sitting naked, arms tied to a bench, for six to eight hours while every part of her body was examined, measured and compared with charts in lengthy, demeaning observations several times a week. She said both she and her sister had suffered life-threatening illnesses as a result of Dr. Mengele's experiments.

"We were his guinea pigs," she said, adding that he came in every morning to count his test subjects.

Ms. Kor established the museum to help bring attention to the child survivors of the Holocaust, especially those who endured Dr. Mengele's experiments.

Now, as her museum sits in ruins, display cases destroyed, electronic equipment melted, posters covered in a layer of soot, Ms. Kor is hopeful. The arsonist, she said, was not entirely successful.

"As strange as it might sound, the world has learned about our little museum," she said. "If he was trying to destroy themessage we were trying to teach, he has accomplished exactly the opposite."



November 26, 2003

Ind. Museum Founder Vows to Rebuild




TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) --- Inside the burned-out shell of the Holocaust museum she spent years creating, Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor digs through a pile of scorched insulation, charred books and glass shards, searching for the collection's most sobering artifacts.

``Bones are somewhere here,'' she mutters with a Hungarian accent, her hands protected only by thin gardening gloves. Finally, she makes a find.

``Here it is. Here is a bone,'' the 69-year-old says, holding a small, ivory-colored human bone she found years ago during a visit to Auschwitz, where the Nazis exterminated as many as 1.5 million Jews and others.

On Nov. 18, the museum and much of its contents were destroyed in an arson fire that Kor is convinced was an act of hate. The words ``Remember Timmy McVeigh'' were spray-painted on the museum. McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who shared sympathies with white supremacists, was executed at a federal prison outside Terre Haute in 2001.

Thousands of schoolchildren have filed through the one-story CANDLES Museum since Kor opened it in 1995 in hopes of teaching Midwesterners about the horrors of the Holocaust. CANDLES stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.

Kor lost more than 100 of her relatives at Auschwitz, and she and her identical twin sister were subjected to ghastly medical experiments conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's ``Angel of Death.''

Kor said she hopes to rebuild the museum with tighter security.

``Surviving the camps has taught me to never, ever give up. And the need for teaching how to prevent tragedies and hatred is even more clear in my mind now than before,'' she said.

The FBI is investigating the blaze. Police said they have no suspects, but prosecutor Bob Wright said Tuesday that one person of interest is a Terre Haute man who, a police informant says, made anti-Semitic comments and was trying to recruit people to a neo-Nazi group.

Joseph Stockett, 57, was convicted of setting a fire to a Planned Parenthood building in Oregon but insisted he played no role in the CANDLES fire. He was charged Monday with an unrelated federal gun violation.

``I was set up ... by the ATF,'' he told reporters.

Kor and her twin, Miriam Mozes Zeiger -- who died of cancer in 1993 -- were 10 when their family was sent from present-Hungary to Auschwitz in a cattle car. The Nazis pulled the girls away from their mother for Mengele's use, and they never saw any of their relatives again.

In Mengele's lab, Kor and her sister got weekly injections, and every part of their unclothed bodies was measured and compared. She vividly recalls going to the filthy latrine and finding the corpses of three children, their eyes open and gazing eerily at her.

Kor's museum never had throngs of visitors, but educators say it helped children comprehend a dark chapter of history. It contained books on the Holocaust, bricks from Auschwitz, and maps and photographs about the Nazi destruction of 6 million Jews.

Among the items Kor retrieved from the museum's ruins were lumps of melted pennies that had been in jars in a display case. Schoolchildren had collected more than a million pennies to help them grasp the enormity of the Holocaust.

Lindsey Hall, the principal of Mahomet-Seymour Junior High School near Champaign-Urbana, Ill., brought Kor to speak to students in 1997. They listened, rapt, for nearly two hours.

``To have a primary source of history is always an incredible gift, especially when you're trying to teach kids about lessons we learned from the awful parts of history,'' Hall said.

Richard Hirschhaut, the Anti-Defamation League's Midwest director, said he looks forward to the museum's reopening.

``Survivors of the Holocaust will tell you how very lucky they were, but so many of them were tough. There was a toughness and a resolve and a determination to live,'' he said. ``It's that spirit and determination that she has brought to this museum.''

If you'd like to donate, Terre Haute`s First National Bank has set up a rebuilding fund.
(Call Toll Free 888-245-1929 and mention the account name of CANDLES)
You can also leave donations at Williams Realtors in Terre Haute, IN, USA

Special Link to the Museum Fire