Artist Lecture Series to feature Eva Mozes Kor

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor will share her message of forgiveness and determination in the face of adversity during the first staging of the Artist-Lecture Series in the Akin Auditorium on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

Powered by what Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Matt Park calls a “never-give-up attitude,” Kor has emerged from a trauma-filled childhood as an example of the human spirit’s power to overcome. She is a community leader and human rights advocate.

In 1995, Kor opened the Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiences Survivors Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, with “a mission to prevent prejudice and hatred through education about the Holocaust,” as stated on the website. Thousands of people, including many school groups, have visited CANDLES since it opened. In 2003, the museum was destroyed by an arsonist, but with the help of a generous public outpouring of support, the museum was rebuilt and reopened in 2005.

According to Park, Kor was chosen by committee members to speak on a topic that hasn’t been addressed by any other speaker in the past and her message correlates with MSU’s shared values of mutual respect.

“World War II and the Holocaust occurred nearly 70 years ago, and not many firsthand survivors remain who are available to speak publicly about their experiences. With a perspective on one of the most significant events in modern world history, Eva was selected by the students to speak about a topic not previously included in the Series. Eva’s message also relates to MSU’s shared values of mutual respect, civility, cooperation and social justice,” Park said.

The committee meets every spring to brainstorm and decide on featured speakers for the Artist-Lecture Series. Numerous artists, celebrity personalities, musicians and public speakers are brought to the table for discussion. With Kor being selected, Park said the committee hopes for attendees to gain a better understanding about prejudice and the Holocaust.

“The committee hopes attendees leave with a deeper understanding of the Holocaust from an individual who experienced prejudice against the Jews firsthand as a resident of rural Romania under the control of Nazi Germany during World War II,” Park said. “Eva’s story of a trauma-filled childhood turned champion of human rights is a brilliant example of the human spirit’s power to overcome and a message of inclusion and understanding relevant in today’s turbulent society marked by increasing displays and discussions surrounding civil rights.”

Accounting senior Kenicia Selkridge said she hopes to gain more insight into the holocaust and get a clearer picture of how Eva was able to get through it.

“I am definitely interested in finding out what her mind-set was when she was going through the holocaust, more importantly I want to know what prompted her will to survive it and eventually overcome,” Selkridge said.

Heather Goolsby, mechanical engineering junior, said it is interesting to have a perspective such as Kor’s come to the school where some of the community comes from German and Russian cultures.

“It is interesting to think about someone who did survive [the Holocaust],” Goolsby said. “A lot of us either had family members who did survive or were left behind in the war.”

Tickets are free for MSU students, faculty, and staff with a valid MSU ID, $18 for senior citizens, active-duty military and MSU alumni and $20 for the general public. Tickets are available at the Clark Student Center information desk.

Additional reporting by Justin Marquart.

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