A larger-than-life mural of Holocaust survivor and Terre Haute legend Eva Mozes Kor is being installed in Indianapolis.
Alex Kor, son of the internationally known forgiveness advocate, joined artist Pamela Bliss in painting the first strokes of the mural last Friday on the side of the 500 Festival Building at 21 Virginia Ave. in downtown Indianapolis.
The mural is scheduled for completion in November.
“Words cannot adequately express what this mural of my mother in downtown Indianapolis means to me, my father and my sister,” Alex Kor said. “On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Ted Green, Dr. John Abrams, Jessica Chapman, WFYI, the 500 Festival, all donors and friends. With tears in my eyes, thank you!”
The Eva Kor mural project, managed by the 500 Festival Foundation, has the support of Kor’s family. Fundraising efforts for the project were led by volunteers from “Team Eva,” a group of individual donors and philanthropic organizations who came together to make the project possible.
The mural will be painted by Pamela Bliss, the Hoosier artist behind the outdoor murals of icons such as Kurt Vonnegut, Reggie Miller and John Mellencamp. The new mural will be one of the city’s tallest portraits, with Kor – 4-foot-9 in real life – to stand approximately 53 feet tall. A dedication ceremony is planned at the completion of the mural.
The mural will be based off of a photo of Eva that was taken during one of her many visits to Auschwitz.
“Eva has left an everlasting impact on Hoosiers, our country and our world. This mural will be an enduring reminder of her spirit of forgiveness and love,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“Eva Mozes Kor was an inspiration and a treasured member of the 500 Festival’s extended family,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Eva’s message of peace, unity and inclusiveness have never been more relevant in our community. Standing at just 4 feet 9 inches, Eva’s personality was larger than life. It only seemed fitting that we use our building as a canvas to pay tribute to her legacy.”
Kor passed away in July 2019 at age 85.
She lived in Terre Haute for 59 years but was born in the tiny village of Portz, Romania. Eva was 10 years old when she was imprisoned at Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp where she and her twin sister, Miriam, were subjected to cruel medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele. The girls fought daily for their own survival until the camp was liberated.
Kor started telling her story to schools in 1978, and in the 1980s she became a vocal advocate for Holocaust survivors. After countless years of anger and grief, she made the decision that would come to define her legacy. In 1995, Kor returned to Auschwitz on the 50th anniversary of the liberation to publicly forgive the Nazis. From then, she worked tirelessly, dedicating her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope, healing and inclusiveness.
She was grand marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade and served as the official pacesetter for the 2019 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Within the 500 Festival’s 60-plus year history, Eva Kor is the only person to serve in both of those roles.
In recent years, she was awarded with the Sachem Award, Indiana’s highest civilian honor, and was honored at the Kennedy Center by the Anti-Defamation League. She was named a “Living Legend” by the Indiana Historical Society and has been the focus of several books and two feature-length documentaries, most recently “Eva: A-7063,” a documentary by Ted Green and Mika Brown in partnership with WFYI.
To view a trailer of the movie, “Eva: A-7063,” or to learn more about Eva Kor, go online to TheStoryofEva.com.