July 9, 2019

CANDLES Museum Opens For First Time Since Eva Kor's Death

The main exhibit hall is closed, but the museum has a memorial to Kor setup that is free to the public. (Seth Tackett/WFIU-WTIU News)

People poured into the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute Tuesday to remember founder and survivor Eva Kor.

The museum had been closed since her death Thursday. People are leaving flowers in Kor's parking spot out front.

The main exhibit hall at CANDLES is closed, but a memorial is setup inside that’s free to the public. Soft music plays as people make their way around the perimeter of the room, reading about Kor’s life and looking at dozens of pictures.

Kor and her twin sister were the only members of their immediate family that survived after being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

The memorial to Kor will remain open through this week.

"It’s just really a time to come and to be and reflect," says CANDLES Executive Director Leah Simpson. "We have some papers for you to fill out and share your fondest memory of Eva. At some point, we hope they become an exhibit."

Simpson was with Kor on a CANDLES trip to Poland when she died last week. She says Tuesday was the first time the museum staff could all be together, which made it an emotional morning.

The museum is planning a candle lighting ceremony in honor of Kor at 1 p.m. Saturday. It will resume normal operations next week.

Simpson says Kor will continue to live on through the exhibits, and the museum's eventual expansion.

"We’ve had these plans for a while to have two sites – to have an Eva Kor Center in Terre Haute and have a state holocaust museum in Indianapolis," she says. "And, I think, if anything, [her death] pushes us faster."

While there is a funeral for family and close friends this weekend, there will be public memorial services in August.

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