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  1. ITV Report

Eva Mozes Kor: The Angel of Death survivor who faced top Nazi 'complicit' in murder of millions of Jews

Eva Mozes Kor has died aged 85. Credit: AP

Despite being tortured as part of the 'Angel of Death's' experiments on twins, Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who recently died aged 85, was an advocate for forgiveness.

The story of her life - during and after her horrific experiences at the hands of Josef Mengele - is one of hardship, perseverance and bravery.

In 1944 her family was taken by Nazis from their native Romania to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where most of her relatives were killed.

Eva Mozes Kor (R) survived Auschwitz, but most of her family did not.

She and her twin sister survived, but they were subjected to inhumane medical experiments by SS officer and Auschwitz doctor Mengele.

She spent the rest of her life campaigning for survivors, fighting the rise of neo-Nazism and advocating that those involved with the Holocaust be forgiven.

Perhaps one of her most courageous moments since being held at Auschwitz was in 2015, when she came face to face with an SS officer who admitted being "complicit in the murder of millions of Jews".

His name was Oskar Groning, but his notoriety at the concentration camp led him to being known as the "Auschwitz bookkeeper".

He was given his nickname due to his role at the camp: counting, ordering and logging the money stolen from Jewish prisoners.

Ms Kor and her twin sister Miriam survived Auschwitz after being experimented on.

Ms Kor, who described him as "a very old man with a great deal of problems", confronted him after he admitted his role at the concentration camp.

Despite her parents being killed at the camp where he was an officer, Ms Kor she said she felt sympathy for him, adding how it was "clearly a very long hard day for him."

She even said she was disappointed at his sentence of four years in jail.

Following sentencing she said: "My preference would have been to sentence him to community service by speaking out against neo-Nazis.

In court Ms Kor came face to face with Oskar Groning, the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz'.

"I would like the court to prove to me, a survivor, how four years in jail will benefit anybody.

"Groening said in his statements that he was wrong, it never should have happened, and it should never happen again.

"The reason I am speaking out is because so many survivors are still suffering emotionally, 70 years later, and they do not understand they have the power and the right to forgive."

During the court case she met with ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy, who explains how Ms Kor inspired her:

Ms Kor met ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy in 2015. Credit: ITV News

The day I met Eva Mozes Kor I was in a very dark place and at such very low ebb I wasn’t sure I could make it into work let alone travel to Germany for the interview. I’m pretty tough minded normally but something had failed me that day.

Yet from the moment I met this physically frail but incredibly strong woman I felt completely inspired.

She was in terrible physical pain yet undeterred, funny and feisty. And I loved that the camera couldn’t go on until she’d got her lipstick on and checked her hair.

She found her strength from the adversity and tragedy which had been such a part of her life. She forgave those who had done her such harm and accepted the criticism which came with that decision.

She used her experience of the Holocaust to encourage others to overcome their own adversity. Her spirit and strength gave me the fight to keep going.

I have reflected on her words and actions many times since and continue to take strength from them.

I like to believe in fate and I think fate made our paths cross at that moment.

I had to keep going and through her words Eva offered me the building blocks to do so.

Thank you Eva, the world is a lesser place without you.

– ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy
When she faced Groening inside the court room in Luneburg, Germany, he was 93 years old. Credit: ITV News

After being freed from Auschwitz, she moved to Indiana where she married a fellow Holocaust survivor and raised a family.

In 1985, she founded CANDLES, or Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors - a charity supporting those who survived.

Ms Kor often gave lectures, wrote an autobiography and appeared in documentaries, sharing her story and message of forgiveness.

Ms Kor passed away during an annual trip to Auschwitz. Credit: AP

During the annual trips to Poland, she would give tours of Auschwitz.

"The themes of Eva’s life are apparent. We can overcome hardship and tragedy. Forgiveness can help us to heal,” a museum statement said.

"And everyone has the power and responsibility to make this world a better place."

It was during an annual group trip to Auschwitz in Poland that she died, in her hotel room, on Thursday July 4.