Eva Mozes Kor famously forgave the Nazis after she and her twin sister survived the brutal experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele and lost the rest of their family in the Holocaust. The act made her an icon of forgiveness. She will be speaking Friday in Flossmoor and Olympia Fields as part of a local Forgiveness Project featuring an exhibit, The F-Word: Stories of Forgiveness.
Eva Mozes Kor famously forgave the Nazis after she and her twin sister survived the brutal experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele and lost the rest of their family in the Holocaust.
The act made her an icon of forgiveness.
She is one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors, and Homewood-Flossmoor area residents will have an opportunity to hear her tell her story on Friday, Sept. 23.
She will be speaking with students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School during the day and with the community at about 7:15 p.m. at Temple Anshe Sholom, 20820 Western Ave.
Kor is the founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Ind., and the author, with Lisa Rojany Buccieri, of “Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz.”
Kor’s visit is part of the local forgiveness project sponsored by three congregations, B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom and Congregation Am Echad of Homewood and Temple Anshe Sholom of Olympia Fields, with primary funding from the Jewish United Fund of Chicago, and in collaboration with H-F High School, according to organizer Brian Zakem of Flossmoor.
In addition to Kor’s visit, the project includes The F-Word: Stories of Forgiveness, an exhibit of thought-provoking images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity, according to Zakem.
The exhibit will be hosted at B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, 1424 W. 183rd St. in Homewood. Visits are by appointment only so a docent can be arranged. To make appointments, contact Zakem at [email protected] or 708-799-3374.
The exhibit was first launched in England in 2004 by journalist Marina Cantacuzino. It presents voices from around the world to explore forgiveness as a healing process, a path out of victim hood and a journey of hope, according to the project’s website.
Louisa Hext, the North American coordinator of the exhibit, will speak at B’nai Yehuda Beth Shalom at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24., following Selichot service, which will begin at 6:45 p.m.
The exhibit and programs at Temple Anshe Sholom and B’nai Yehuda Beth Shalom are free, open and accessible to the public. Zakem emphasized that the project is open to everyone, regardless of which faith tradition they come from or whether they have any religious affiliation.
Zakem is encouraging those who plan to attend the programs to send him email noting which programs they plan to attend and how many guests they will bring, which will help organizers plan for refreshments.
Zakem said the goal of the project is not just to offer one thought-provoking moment to area residents but to spark a local movement of people interested in keeping the conversation about forgiveness going and, ideally, in collaborating on future projects.
“I want this to be a catalyst,” he said, noting that future efforts will continue the welcoming, collaborative approach that allows groups and individuals to determine what roles they can play in the project.
Zakem took the lead on organizing this event after learning about the forgiveness Project at a Parliament of World Religions meeting in 2015. He met Hext there and was inspired to bring the F-Word exhibit and speakers to the H-F area.
“I like their theme of open inquiry,” he said of The Forgiveness Project. “Everyone is welcome.”
He said the stories presented in the exhibit can be troubling, but viewing and pondering them will be rewarding.
“Each time I go, there’s different layers and nuances,” he said. “I hope people have an opportunity to go more than once.”
Correction: The location of Congregation Am Echad was incorrect in the original version of this story. The Chronicle regrets the error.