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March 19, 2004

Holocaust survivor to tell her story to area elementary students

Eva Mozes Kor

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A survivor of Holocaust experiments on identical twins will speak to Tippecanoe County elementary students as part of the 23rd annual Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference.

Eva Mozes Kor, a Terre Haute, Ind., resident, will visit Happy Hollow Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday (3/25) to speak to about 200 students from throughout Tippecanoe County. In her talk, Kor will recount the experiences she and her family had while imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Purdue University's James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship is sponsoring the event.

"The student program in conjunction with the Holocaust Remembrance Conference was developed to provide area students and teachers with age-appropriate educational experiences about the Holocaust," said Phillip J. VanFossen, Ackerman Center director and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction. "Holocaust education is a clear case of learning from history in order to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. An important step in preventing future occurrences of such atrocities is for current generations to learn the lessons of the Holocaust."

The center supports Holocaust education as part of its overall educational mission to provide an understanding of history, which is a cornerstone of effective citizenship in a democracy, VanFossen said.

Kor, born in Portz, Hungary in 1935, was deported to Auschwitz in early 1944 with her family, including her twin sister. Because she was a twin, Kor became part of the experiments conducted by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Kor's story illustrates the impact these historical events have had on millions of people, said Happy Hollow Elementary School teacher Janet Tipton.

"Even though the Holocaust is 'ancient history' to these sixth-graders, they are developing an understanding of the suffering and an empathy for the victims of this terrible human tragedy," Tipton said. "Through literature, poetry and art, the students' emotional ties to the Holocaust victims is deepening and having a profound impact on their lives. They ask the unanswerable question: 'Why?'"

More information on the program can be found at the Ackerman Center's Web site.

The James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, housed in Purdue's School of Education, was created in 1994 with a $2 million gift from James Ackerman, an Indianapolis cable television executive, and his wife, Lois.

The center sponsors an annual summer institute on citizenship education for teachers, various workshops and civic education projects for teachers and students, and serves as a statewide resource for citizenship educational materials.

The 23rd annual Holocaust Remembrance Conference will take place on March 27. This year's theme is Anti-Semitism and Terrorism. Kor also will give the conference's keynote address at 8:30 p.m. March 27 in Matthews Hall, Room 210.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Phillip J. VanFossen, (765) 494-2367,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Auschwitz Memorial and Museum

Josef Mengele and Experimentation on Human Twins at Auschwitz

Related release:
‘Mengele twin’ keynote speaker at Holocaust Conference

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