Candles Holocaust Museum reopens after Eva Kor’s death

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FILE – In this Nov. 20, 2003, file photo, Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor talks before the start of a candlelight vigil for the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Ind., after the founded the museum that was destroyed by fire earlier in that week. Kor, who championed forgiveness even for those who carried out the Holocaust atrocities, died Thursday morning, July 4, 2019, in Krakow, Poland, during an annual museum trip. She was 85. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Terre Haute, Ind. (WTWO) – For the first time since the passing of Eva Kor, the Candles Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute opened it’s doors once again on Wednesday.

Community members from all over were there to remember Eva and the legacy she leaves behind.

Those reflecting on time spent with Eva knew her as a woman who did not want to dwell in the past, but to learn from it and learn to forgive along the way.

Eva created Candles Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute as an education center and as a platform to spread her message of peace to the world.

This week Candles is celebrating the life of Eva with a remebrance service.
“She was here to make the world a better place and shine a light on her story,” said student staff worker Kate Grabowski.
Eva impacted the lives of so many.

“She just enjoyed the moment. She woke up every day and said ‘What is my purpose? How can I make the world a better place?'”
Executive Director of Candles Museum Leah Simpson said her passing just doesn’t feel real.


“And just the way she says this is my quest…the way she sings it… Like I can hear her… And I’m smiling because because I can hear her singing that and just being so alive and happy in that moment,” said Simpson.

Every year Eva would take a trip back to Auschwitz with a group of people to tell her story of survival and to educate them on the history of the extermination camp.

Kate Grabowski remembers one of the emotional speeches Eva made when she took the trip to Poland.

“Hearing her tell her story, I could really just feel how like even throughout the years, this is still part of her. There were people in the crowd that were crying because it was very emotional. But she looked at them and said ‘I don’t want you to cry right now. Not in Auschwitz. I beat this place and I want you to be happy that I beat this place. Because if we cry here that means they won and I lost. It’s the other way around. I won. I beat Auschwitz.'”

This was just one memory Eva gave Grabowski. In her time at Candles, she learned a lot from Eva that she will always keep with her. Both Simpson and Grabowski grew close to Eva are now left to reflect on the memories they shared with her.

“I think if I had to pick something that she has taught me, it would be just to never give up. She, I mean, at the age of 85, I mean here she was still doing what she loved. I don’t think she would want it any other way. “

Candles Museum Program Coordinator Marcus Stiner confirms starting next week, the museum will have normal business hours and displays for the community.

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(This story was originally published on July 10, 2019)

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