Forgiving Dr. Mengele (2007)
Could you forgive Dr. Mengele, the Nazi "angel of death?" That was not a theoretical question for Eva Kor. She and her twin sister Miriam spent 10 months in Auschwitz and, along with many other twins, were separated from their families and subjected to Mengele's horrific experiments. After liberation by the Soviets as a ten-year old, then ten years in Israel, she relocated to Terre Haute, Indiana in 1960, where she raised a family. She returned to Auschwitz for the first time in 1984, and then again for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camps in 1995. On that occasion she did the unthinkable: she read aloud her personal "official declaration of amnesty" to Mengele and the Nazis. To be liberated from the Nazis was not enough, she said; she needed to be released from the pain of the past. To extend forgiveness, she says, without any prerequisites required of the perpetrators, was an "act of self-healing." Others in the Jewish community were outraged that she dared to do this. Most interesting of all, Kor was clearly uncomfortable with extending forgiveness to or empathizing with the Palestinians when she traveled there. Still, this is a remarkable exploration what she calls "the feeling of complete freedom from pain" though the act of "forgiving your worst enemy."