In 1941, Nazi troops sent his father Mickey to a Latvian ghetto and later deported him to the Buchenwald concentration camp. Mickey endured four years of grueling labor under the most unimaginable of conditions. More than 56,000 people were murdered at Buchenwald, but Mickey evaded execution with a daring escape. With the aid of U.S. troops, he emigrated to America to begin life anew.
In 1944, his mother Eva and her family were sent by cattle car to Auschwitz, the most feared of the Nazi camps. Eva and her twin sister Miriam were whisked away on the train platform and separated from their parents and other siblings. It would be the last time Eva and Miriam would ever see their family again. Eva and Miriam were subjected to the inhumane experiments of Dr. Joseph Mengele, “The Angel of Death.” Through sheer will, they survived and were liberated by Allied troops in 1945.
On Halloween night in 1972, Alex Kor’s classmates pelted his home with bushels of corn and scrawled antisemitic slurs on the windows. A few months later, he was attacked by a group of bullies solely because he was Jewish.
In 1987, at the age of 26 and with a promising medical career ahead of him, he was diagnosed with cancer, leaving him terrified and uncertain about his future.
By all accounts, Dr. Alex Kor’s life has been a miracle. The son of two Holocaust survivors who narrowly escaped death, Alex grew up in Indiana — a state with Midwestern charm and an ignominious history of prejudice. In “A Blessing, Not a Burden,” Alex details his incredible journey, from his unique upbringing to his present-day mission of carrying on his parents’ inspiring legacy. From his mother’s controversial stance on forgiving the Nazis to his father’s unbridled optimism, Alex shares life lessons that have helped him overcome his own hardships along the way. Alex also offers his own perspective on forgiveness as he nurtures his parents’ legacies in a world still fraught with discrimination. He’s traveled a long and winding road, from Terre Haute, Indiana, to Auschwitz and many places in between and like his parents, he has endured … and overcome.
As antisemitism festers across the globe, “A Blessing, Not a Burden” takes readers back to one of the most horrific periods in human history, reminding us of the terrible costs of hate and warning us that we are not so far removed from those dangers as we might think. Yet, at the same time, the story of the Kor family stands as a living memorial to the belief that the human spirit can overcome even the darkest of circumstances.
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