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Remembering Eva Kor

July 11, 2019 by

The world knows by now that Eva Kor has died. She was supposed to die as a child, seventy-five years ago, in Auschwitz, a death she cheated her captors out of. I know I am only one of thousands whose life has been impacted by Eva in a way that cannot be undone. Diminutive at well under five feet tall, she was nonetheless a giant among women, a staunch advocate for victims of all evils, a yet louder voice proclaiming forgiveness.

Eva Kor with Carmen Hinkey, a member of the Bruderhof, a covenant community in upstate New YorkThe author with Eva Kor in 2010

She was also completely human, someone who leaned on my arm as we trudged through the snow in Auschwitz, in 2010; who joined my husband and me at breakfast every morning before the rest of our tour group got up. We were the lucky students she taught to “organize” (from the German organizieren – to acquire through less-than-transparent means) a free lunch sandwich from the breakfast buffet to tuck into our coat pockets for the long day in the camp. She is all these things to me, and more: she is the woman who put into my hands and heart the tools by which to understand my own mother more completely.

Eva never did anything the easy way, and perhaps this is her final coup, making it that much more complicated for those of us who love her.

The irony of her death in Krakow, the doorstep to Auschwitz, is unresolved for me. Seriously? Is this God’s joke on one of his own? (She was an avowed atheist.) Logic is breaking down here, and in my books she should have died at home, in Terre Haute, IN, where Mickey was waiting for her, and her CANDLES community surrounded and loved her. But Eva never did anything the easy way, and perhaps this is her final coup, making it that much more complicated for those of us who love her. Rest in peace, Eva, and in whichever version of the afterlife you chose, I know you’ll find those you lost so long ago, and to whom you’ve been true.


About the author

Carmen Hinkey

Carmen Hinkey

Carmen Hinkey and her husband Stephen live at the Mount Community in New York State.

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