Editor’s Note: Today marks the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp in operation during the Holocaust. It is estimated that more than 1.1 million men, women and children died there. The following blog is a guest post from Eva Kor, Auschwitz survivor and Founding Director of CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. We thank Eva Kor for sharing her story and for calling on us to take action.
By Eva Kor
On January 27, 1945, my dream came true. For ten months, I had envisioned the day when my twin sister Miriam and I would walk through the gates of Auschwitz as free people. It was a dream born on our first night in that horrible place.
When we first arrived, Miriam and I were separated from our father, mother, and two older sisters. We were taken to a barrack with other twin girls to be used in medical experiments at the direction of Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele. I’ll never forget that first night in the rat-infested horse barn. We could not sleep, so we went to the latrine. There, on that filthy latrine floor, we saw the scattered corpses of three children. Right then, I made a silent pledge that I would do everything in my power to prevent Miriam and myself from ending up like those children. My dream to survive was born.
In my childish naiveté during that time at Auschwitz, I thought the entire world had become a concentration camp. In the final days of the war, the Nazis fled the camp. I walked down to a nearby river in my tattered clothes and lice-infested hair to get a drink. I bent down and when I looked up I saw a girl on the other side of the river. She was wearing a nice dress, and had ribbons in her hair. Most importantly to me, she was carrying school books. That was the first time I realized that not everyone was living in a concentration camp — that while we were fighting to survive, other people were carrying on with their normal lives.
Many times since we were liberated, I have wondered why nobody came to save us — why nobody stopped the Nazis from taking us to Auschwitz in the first place. It was not an inevitability that my family would be murdered or that Miriam and I would have to endure horrible medical experiments.
Today, I wonder if there is a little girl in Darfur, Sudan who thinks the whole world has become one huge displaced persons camp where everyone is starving and fighting to survive. Perhaps her family has been taken from her too, and she doesn’t know if she will ever see them again. Maybe she wonders if anyone knows she is fighting for her life, or if anyone even cares.
You are the person who can help that girl. You are the person who has the freedom and the power to make a difference and show her you care. Perhaps you do not think that you can do it all by yourself, but like I told myself at Auschwitz, you must do whatever is within your power.
Today, on the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I ask you to join with me by taking one single action to help the children who are suffering in this world — whether in Sudan, Congo, Burma, or in our own communities. Together, we can create peace.