Eva Mozes Kor

 

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I had been visiting the family graveyards and running errands with my family and then returned home when I learned of Eva Mozes Kor’s passing. My mother, sister, and I hugged, because this little lady touched our lives. The summer after I received Anne Frank’s diary for my 12th birthday, to encourage my interest in the Holocaust, my Mom took my sister and I to the CANDLES Museum. Through my aunt, we had heard some of Eva Kor’s story of survival and her journey to forgiveness. We toured the museum (this was summer 1999, so this was the old building, the one destroyed by an arsonist in 2003) and unfortunately Eva wasn’t there. Her husband Mickey Kor was and he showed us around and shared a little of his story.

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Over the next fifteen years, I followed Eva’s story and saved articles from newspapers covering her trips to Poland. I dreamed of going, but never believed it would be a possibility. In the darkest times of my life, I looked to Eva’s and other survivor stories to give me hope. Then in 2015, I was able to go on her tour to Krakow and Auschwitz. My life hasn’t been the same since.

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When I learned Eva passed in Krakow on her annual tour, I was heartbroken, but in a small way it seemed right. That Eva would go out living her life to the fullest and sharing her message of peace and forgiveness with the world.

God Bless you, Eva, and your beautiful memory.

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Anne Frank: An Inspirational Life

My Femnista Article on Anne Frank, one of my personal heroes.

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On December 30th, 1998, I turned twelve years old. Like every twelve-year-old, I had a party. Family and friends came over to celebrate and showered me with presents. One stood out among the others and continues to stand out to this day. My aunt’s gift was a girl’s diary. I peeled back the wrapping paper, read the title aloud, and looked to her for an explanation. I had never heard of Anne Frank. It interested me, though, since I was a bookworm.

The following day, I found an inscription inside. Veronica: Anne Frank was just a year older than you when she began this diary. It became her personal refuge when she and her family were forced into hiding from the Nazis. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 and was probably buried in a mass grave, but her thoughts live on. This book has meant…

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Eva: A-7063 – A Review

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Last week, I was finally able to watch the documentary, “Eva: A-7063,” which follows the story of Eva Mozes Kor. I’ve followed the progress of this project almost since it was announced and have waited to see it for maybe two years now. It debuted this year on PBS and has been shown several times. Narrated by Ed Asner, it shows the life of Eva Mozes Kor like we have never seen it before. Often when you read about Auschwitz, or WWII, or the Holocaust and Eva is mentioned, her story is cut off at the liberation of Auschwitz. Which is unfortunate, because the Holocaust and her time in Auschwitz was only part of her journey. Her story certainly didn’t end there.

Born in Romania, in q7forgivingdrmengele_main1944, Eva and her family were transported to Auschwitz. On her arrival, she and her twin Miriam were selected by Dr. Mengele to be used for experimentations. Eva and Miriam remained in Auschwitz until its liberation on January 27, 1945. Eva tried to resume her life, fell in love, married and had children, but the loss of their family and the inhumane torture haunted her for years. Until something truly miraculous happened.

 

 

 

 

I don’t want to go too in depth about the documentary and risk spoiling for those who haven’t seen it. I only wanted to shed some light on it and to do my small part of sharing Eva’s story with others. If you get the opportunity, you ought to watch it. From the way it was put together, you can tell it was a labor of love. Eva is a remarkable woman. I have met her in person a couple of times, I went on her tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Krakow in 2015, and she has been a constant inspiration to me.

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For more information on the documentary, go here: https://www.thestoryofeva.com/. Or if you are interested in the museum she founded, go here: https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/.

Happy Birthday, Anne Frank!

If Anne Frank were alive today, she would be 90 years old. I can’t wrap my mind around that; in my mind she’s forever young. I also can’t begin to say how much Anne Frank has influenced my life, or how deep my love is for her. Today’s post is in honor of her, including some quotes and photographs of her. May her memory continue to be a blessing.

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 

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“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

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“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” 

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“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

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“No one has ever become poor by giving.” 

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“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

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“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” 

 

 

PS. Sometime this month, Femnista is featuring an article I wrote about Anne, so please stay tuned for that. Thank you.

Day of Days

Today is the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. To liberate Europe from the yoke of Nazi oppression, on June 6th, 1944, the Allied armies invaded France. There was no guarantee the Allies would be successful… If they failed, it would have been catastrophic for mankind. I’m not one to believe in Just Wars, but if ever there was one, it had to be WWII. The Axis Powers had to be defeated. The fate of the world rested on the shoulders of thousands of young men, many who were in their teens and twenties.

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“Band of Brothers,” is a fantastic portrayal of the lives in the 101st Easy Company, and give you an idea of what the men were feeling. The ten-part miniseries followed the men from their training, through D-Day, and onto the liberation of Europe. I haven’t watched “Band of Brothers,” in a while, but whenever I did, I thought of my grandfather who served in WWII and what he might have been like as a young man. It’s a challenge to think of the quiet, reserved, white haired man as young.

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We have a family story, that on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1994), the family was visiting my grandfather at the nursing home. Grandpa was unable to care for himself and he was bedridden. Grandpa’s younger brother Allen was visiting too, and Allen had also served in WWII.

At one point, Uncle Allen said to my grandfather, “Well, bud, remember where we were fifty years ago today?”

Grandpa rarely ever talked of his experiences and when he did, his statements were vague. But this time he began to cry and replied, “Yeah. D-Day.”

Nothing more was said on the subject. My grandfather died in 1998. Since then we have had to piece things together from what little information was left behind.

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Now, it is the 75th Anniversary and thank God, the world hasn’t forgotten the sacrifice these young men made. Thousands died and those who did make it through, sacrificed part of their innocence. They truly were the Greatest Generation.

Judy (2019)

 

The trailer for the new bio pic about Judy Garland was released not long ago and as a devoted Judy fan, I’m conflicted. On the one hand, the clips we’ve been shown do look good, and despite my initial skepticism, Renee Zellweger does sort of resemble Garland in makeup. I have no doubt that Zellweger will give a stellar performance, she is talented and can do both comedy and drama. She has been in musicals before too.

On the other hand, the script itself is inspired from a Broadway play End of the Rainbow, which follows Judy’s last few months…and apparently mocks her struggles. Garland’s oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, came out last year with her disapproval of the project and stated she had not been consulted about the bio pic on her late mother. Rather than rely on recordings of Garland, who had a unique voice, Zellweger sings the songs herself.

Either Judy (2019) will be a hit or a big miss. I plan to watch, because I watch anything involving Judy Garland. It’ll be a challenge though to remain impartial if this movie does mock Garland’s dark days. Everyone has their demons and hopefully this new bio pic will remember that Judy Garland was more than her substance abuse problems.

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The real Judy Garland

For those interested in learning a little more about Judy Garland as a person, please check out the Femnista Article I wrote about her.

As for me, I have a feeling I’ll be re-watching, “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” sometime soon. It was a bio pic produced by Judy’s daughter, Lorna Luft. Starring Tammy Blanchard as young Judy and Judy Davis as older Judy, the story is told with honesty and respect, and yet no one is made out to be a saint or a sinner.

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Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard as Judy Garland (2001)

 

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Judy (2019) bio pic?

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Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland (2019)

 

Skillful Writer

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I like to read the Bible, I always have. I’ve read it from cover to cover three times; you can never stop learning from it. In all my readings of the Bible, I missed Psalm 45:1. I know I’ve read it before, but my mind draws a blank in regards to it.

I found the verse while hunting on the internet for magazines to submit to. It was featured on an online magazine. According to Wikipedia, Psalm 45 itself was written in tribute to a king on his marriage to a foreign woman. It also states that it is a prophetic Psalm and it refers to the Jewish Messiah. The one who is, was, and is to come. As a Christian, my thoughts naturally turn to Jesus.

Anyway, the magazine listed Psalm 45:1 as their mantra: My heart is stirred by a noble theme, as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

My heart is stirred when I read the verse. I don’t know if I can put it into words, but I feel it speaks to me as a fellow writer. It is now my personal writing mantra. As writers, I believe God has given each of us something particular to say. We each have a voice and that voice must be used to the best of our abilities. Otherwise we are denying the gift God bestowed on us. Many use words to make a difference, to bring about change, or draw awareness to what is wrong in the world.

And in using our voice as a skillful writer, we glorify the Author of Life.

What are your feelings about Psalm 45:1? Does it speak to you? Or do you have a different writing mantra that inspires you?