I Survived The Holocaust Twin Experiments

– I was born in 1934, one of a pair of twins. Miriam and I were the third and fourth children in the family. We lived in a very small village in Transylvania, Romania. (haunting music) We got down from the cattle car. People were selected to live or to die. People crying, pushing, shoving, dogs barking, trying to make
some sense of that place, and I actually turned around in trying to figure out what is the place? Never seen a place like that before. And as I turned around, I realized that my father and my two
older sisters were gone. Never saw them again. We were holding onto Mother for dear life. A Nazi was running in the middle
of that selection platform, yelling in German, “Twins, twins.” He noticed us and demanded
to know if we were twins. And my mother asked, “Is that good?” And the Nazi said, “Yes.” My mother said yes. At that moment, another Nazi came, pulled my mother to the right, we were pulled to the left, we were crying, she was crying. And all I ever remember
is seeing my mother’s arms stretched out in despair
as she was pulled away. I never even said goodbye to her, but I did not understand that this would be the last
time that we would see her, and all that took 30 minutes from the time we got down from the cattle car and my whole family was gone. Only Miriam and I were left,
holding hands and crying. We were Mengele twins, which we found out later on what that meant. (haunting music) Mengele would count us every morning. And he wanted to know how many
guinea pigs he had each day. I was used in two types of experiments. Monday, Wednesday,
Friday, they would put me naked in a room with my twin sister and many other twins,
up to eight hours a day. They would measure every part of my body, compare it to my twin sister,
and then compare it to charts. On alternate days, Tuesday,
Thursday, Saturday, they would take us to a blood lab, they would tie both of my arms
to restrict the blood flow, take a lot of blood from my left arm, and give me a minimum of five injections in the right arm. The content of those injections, we didn’t know then, nor do we know today. After one of those injections, I became very ill with a very high fever. My legs and arms were
swollen and very painful. I was trembling as the August
sun was burning my skin. And I had huge red spots covering my body. The next visit to the blood lab, they didn’t tie my arms. Instead of that, measure my fever. And I was immediately
taken to the hospital. The hospital was another barrack, but it was filled with people who looked to me more dead than alive. Next morning, Mengele came
in with four other doctors. Never, ever examined me,
looked at my fever chart, and then he declared, “Too bad. “She’s so young. “She has only two weeks to live.” For the following two weeks,
I have only one clear memory. Crawling on the barrack floor, because I no longer could walk. And crawling to reach a faucet with water at the other end of the barrack, and as I was crawling, I would fade out, in and out of consciousness,
telling myself I must survive, I must survive. After two weeks, my fever broke. And I felt immediately a lot stronger. It took me another three weeks before my fever charts showed normal. Miriam … When I got back, she
was sitting on the bed, staring into space. When I ask her, “What happened to you?” she said, “I cannot talk about it. “I will not talk about it.” And we didn’t talk about
Auschwitz until 1985. (melancholy music) When I ask her in 1985,
“Miriam, do you remember “when I was taken to the hospital?” she said yes. I said, “What happened to you
while I was in the hospital?” She said, “I was under
Nazi doctor supervision “24 hours a day.” It was the same two weeks
that Mengele said I would die. So I said to her, “What happened to you “after the two weeks were up?” She said she was taken back to the labs, injected with many injections that made her feel very sick. As we found out years later, when she grew up, got married in Israel, expected her first child, she developed severe kidney infections that did not respond to any antibiotic. Second pregnancy in ’63, the infection got so bad that the Israeli doctor studied her, and they found out that Miriam’s kidneys never grew larger than the
size of a 10-year-old child’s. So I begged Miriam not to
have any more children, because every pregnancy was a life crisis. But she had a third child, and after the third child was born, her kidneys deteriorated,
started to deteriorate, and by 1987, they failed. At which time I donated my left kidney. I had two kidneys and one sister, so it was an easy choice. But a year later, she developed cancerous polyps in the bladder. The doctors kept asking me
to find our Auschwitz files. We never found our files. We never found out what was
injected into our bodies, and Miriam died June 6, 1993. Months after Miriam died,
I received a telephone call from a professor at Boston, who said he heard me
speak and he would like me to go to Boston and speak. And when I came there, it would be nice if I could bring a Nazi doctor. I was stunned at such a question, and then I thought about it, I remembered that the last project that Miriam and I worked together before she died was 1992. It was a documentary done
by a German television about the Mengele twins,
and in that documentary, there was a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz. And I figured if he was alive in ’92, he might be alive in ’93. So I got his telephone
number, I called him and invited him to Boston. But he told me he was not
willing to go to Boston. But he was willing to meet with
me at his house in Germany. (dramatic music) And I didn’t plan to ask
him any of these questions. Suddenly, I am asking him,
“You were in Auschwitz. “Did you ever walk by a gas chamber? “Did you ever go inside the gas chamber? “Do you know how the
gas chamber operated?” He said, “Mm-hm, mm-hm.” He said, “This is the nightmare “that I live with every
single day of my life.” And went on describing the
operation of the gas chamber. He was stationed outside,
looking through a peephole while the gas was coming
down and people were dying. When everybody was dead, and nobody moved, he knew that they were dead, and he signed one death certificate. No names, just the number of
people that were murdered. And I ask him to go with
me to Auschwitz in 1995, when we would observe 50 years since the liberation of the camp. Because I wanted him to sign a document, just what he told me,
but I wanted it signed at the ruins of the gas
chamber in Auschwitz. And he agreed immediately. I will have an original document signed by a Nazi. And if I ever met a revisionist who said the Holocaust didn’t happen, I could take that document
and shove it in their face. I wanted to thank this Nazi doctor for his willingness to document
the gas chamber operation. I didn’t know how to thank a Nazi. I didn’t tell anybody about it, because even to me, it sounded strange. I didn’t want anybody to change my mind. After 10 months, one morning I woke up. And the following simple
idea popped into my head. How about a letter of forgiveness from me to Dr. Munch? I knew immediately that he would like it, and that was a meaningful gift. A Auschwitz survivor gives
him a letter of forgiveness, to a Nazi doctor. But what I discovered for
myself was life-changing. I discovered that I had
the power to forgive. No one could give me that power, no one could take it away. It was all mine to use
in any way I wished. And that became an interesting thing, because as a victim of almost 50 years, I never thought that I had
any power over my life. Now I began writing a letter, and I didn’t know how to
write a letter of forgiveness. And it took me four months to write it. And then I thought somebody might read it, and my diction in English is good, my spelling is not. So I wanted my former English professor to correct my spelling, so I called her. We met three times. And third time, she said to
me, “Now, Eva, very nice. “You forgive this Dr. Munch. “Your problem is not with Dr. Munch. “Your problem is with Dr. Mengele.” I was not quite ready to forgive Mengele. She said to me, “Okay. “I have been meeting with
you, correcting your letters. “Now I want you to do me a favor. “When you go home tonight, pretend “that Mengele is in the room, “and you are telling him
that you forgive him. “‘Cause I want to find out
how would it make you feel “if you could do that.” Interesting idea, I thought. And when I got home, actually,
I did something else. I picked up a dictionary and
wrote down 20 nasty words, which I read clear and loud to that make-believe Mengele in the room. And at the end I said,
“In spite of all that, “I forgive you.” Made me feel very good. That I, the little guinea pig of 50 years, even had the power over the Angel of Death of Auschwitz. So that is the way we
arrived in Auschwitz. Dr. Munch came with his son,
daughter, and granddaughter. I took my son and my daughter. I read my declaration of amnesty, which is a very good little document. And I signed it. Dr. Munch signed his document. I felt free, free from Auschwitz, free from Mengele. So now that I have forgiven him, I knew that most of the survivors denounced me, and they
denounce me today also. But what is my forgiveness? I like it. It is an act of self-healing, self-liberation, self-empowerment. All victims all hurt, feel hopeless, feel
helpless, feel powerless. I want everybody to remember that we cannot change what happened. That is the tragic part. But we can change how we relate to it. (gentle piano music)

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