Saturday, May 25, 2013

Forgiving Dr. Mengele: Episode 2 - Surviving the Angel of Death

Read Episode 1 Here

Awhile ago, I wrote a review of the documentary on Netflix, Forgiving Dr. Mengele and how much the subject of the documentary (an amazing woman by the name of Eva Kor) inspired me regarding the psychological aspects of my own troubled past.

At the end of the documentary, I was shocked to learn that not only was she alive, but that she lives in the same state as I do. Eva, with her message of hope, forgiveness and healing, was right in my back yard. I waited awhile, mulling over what I should do with this information.

On Mothers' Day, this year, my in-laws came to visit my family in our new house. Being distinguished and recognized in his field, I asked my father-in-law if he'd ever heard of Eva. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I served on a panel with her and Maya Angelou, once." The man always makes my jaw drop. I told him of my idea about Eva and he gave me encouragement. I sent out the email that day.
 



Hours later, I logged into my email, intending to clean out the clutter of the day. To my surprise, a familiar name popped up. Eva Kor emailed me back! Not only did she email me back, she granted me an interview with her!

So, my lovelies, sometime after mid-August, you can expect a breakthrough interview with Eva from me on this very blog. I've got my photographer all lined up and the times are set. Needless to say, I am over the moon with this news. Eva's message is on par with Mahatma Gandhi's and I feel so blessed to be granted the opportunity to sit down with this woman face to face.

Elie Weisel said, "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." In order to fully do justice to this story, I bought Eva's book, Surviving the Angel of Death. I felt I needed to read it so that I could really know what Eva went through. On the day that it arrived in the mail, I read it cover to cover. So detailed is the story that I had to take breaks every few chapters in order to mentally digest all I was reading, but I wanted to bear witness. True and fully informed witness.



I've been coming at this story in a round-about way for years, now. When I was in 7th grade, I took a trip to Washington DC. There, we were shown the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I can remember walking through and just not understanding how in the world something like this could happen. I've never understood hate that runs to those depths.

The image that sticks in my head the most was a pile of shoes in the museum.


Shoes confiscated from prisoners at Majdanek, on loan from the State Museum of Majdanek, Lublin, Poland. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

I walked through the whole museum on that trip, completely silent, but I knew that I was witnessing something important. That trip, that museum and that pile of shoes does and will influence me for years to come.  

I am a visionary. I use my art, my writing and this blog to bring to light issues I care about. I care that people are mistreated all over the world. I care about human suffering and I care about inequality. I know that I can use my voice, my ability to write and all the other gifts that I have been given to speak out against hate and to speak up for peace, for healing, for beauty, for fun and for creativity.

Art can be activism. Art has power and can be used as a catalyst for change. Sue Hammond West, my art professor who influenced me the most, taught me that.

The only thing I can do, my lovelies, is hope to do justice to Eva and her wonderful message. I look forward to this adventure and to sharing it with you.

Remember, dears. We are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri

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