‘He was no longer a Nazi guard’: The hug seen round the world

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A Terre Haute woman is receiving national attention after a courageous act of kindness that took social media by storm and touched many across the world.

When Eva Kor was liberated from Auschwitz some 70 years ago, she says rarely did she think about the people who inflicted torture on her and her family.

“In my childish mind we defeated them, we were in charge, and they were all gone,” said Kor.

Last week she found herself far away from her Terre Haute home and sitting in a German courtroom. There she stared into the eyes of former Nazi guard Oskar Groening. She was called to testify during his trial.

“It was just on the edge of my mind, I wondered what would happen if I met a Nazi guard,” Kor recalled when asked if she ever thought about coming face to face with a Nazi.

What would happen when Kor and Groening met would capture hearts across the nation.

“I’m going up to him and shaking his hand and then he grabs me and pulls me toward him and then he grabs me and pulls me in and gives me a hug and kiss on my cheek,” explained Kor.

It was a fleeting moment that was a welcomed surprise. Kor said she simply wanted to take a picture with Groening when human instinct took over.

Kor went on to say that “He was no longer a Nazi guard, he was just a caring old man. When two people touch there is a humanity that you cannot remove.”

Groening is being tried as an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz. Groening, now 93, admits he kept watch as thousands were led to the gas chambers, among them was Kor’s family.

Kor says she has long since forgiven those who were responsible, even Dr. Josef Mengele, who performed experiments on Kor and her twin sister at the young age of eleven.

“I feel I have the human right to be free from what they have done to me,” she said.

When asked if she wants Groening to be prosecuted for his actions Kor said she simply wanted him to acknowledge those dark moments in 1944.

Kor even thanked Groening for standing trial and bringing attention to the wrongdoings by the Nazi’s.

“Forgiveness is the best revenge, because they no longer have any power over my life.”

If found guilty Groening could face three to fifteen years in prison.

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