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Forgiving Dr. Mengele
Forgiving Dr Mengele
Actor: Eva Mozes Kor
Director: Cheri Pugh;Bob Hercules
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2007     1hr 20min

Winner of the SPECIAL JURY PRIZE IN SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2006, Forgiving Dr. Mengele is a bold and thought provoking documentary about a shocking act of forgiveness by Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor and the firestorm ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Eva Mozes Kor
Director: Cheri Pugh;Bob Hercules
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Biography, Military & War
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/17/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The healing process has no limits here
Kyle Tolle | Phoenix, Arizona USA | 05/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she and her twin sister Miriam and the rest of her family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Soon after arriving, the twin sisters were separated from their other family members and were then subjected to sinister medical experiments performed by Nazi doctors. The chief perpetrator of these horrific events was the ruthless and cruel Nazi SS officer and doctor Josef Mengele also known as the `Angel of Death'. Upon being liberated from the camp in 1945, Eva and her sister Miriam were the only surviving members of their entire family.

The premise of this documentary focuses on the power of forgiveness and its ability to heal even the most painful of wounds and memories. Eva Kor did what some might see as the unthinkable for most people. Astonishingly, she actually forgave Dr. Mengele and the Nazi's for what they did in the concentration camp. Other surviving twins from Auschwitz (who were also victims of Dr. Mengele) express their views here and they don't have the same capacity to forgive these heinous acts.

For several years, Eva Kor traveled around the world and lectured in several places defending her reasons for forgiveness. Whether it was in Germany, Israel, England, or the United States (she currently lives in Terra Haute, Indiana), she met with considerable resistance and opposition to her views. Knowing what happened in Germany and other countries during the Holocaust, this would be an understandable emotional response for many people.

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that Eva Kor has gone through and I honestly don't know if I'd be able to forgive in the same circumstances. What I can do is greatly admire her courage to come forward with these views and I respect her desire to heal herself and live a better life. There is no doubt that Eva Kor is a special person with a kind heart.

`Forgiving Dr. Mengele' is a sincere and affecting documentary and it is well produced in my opinion. The message contained within is an emotional one and the images in this program will stay with you long after you've seen them. This is recommended viewing for everyone.
Forgive the Nazis?!
Brendan M. Howard | Kansas, USA | 04/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Forgiving Dr. Mengele tells the story of Eva Mozes Kor. As one of two twin girls taken to Auschwitz, she refused to die from the diabolical Josef Mengele's experiments. Her death in the camp from an unknown bacterial cocktail would have meant the end of her use as a guinea pig; her uninfected sister then would have been murdered with a poisonous shot to the heart so the Nazi doctors could cut the two open and compare notes. This proud, unapologetic woman says she came to the camp refusing to die, bitterly cursing the children who had before she arrived.

Now a real estate agent in the United States, Kor goes on a personal mission to Germany to meet a Nazi doctor at Auschwitz found innocent of war-crime charges because he didn't commit any atrocities in the evil hospital. Documentarians Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh capture Kor as she argues with other survivors who say forgiveness is impossible. Kor won't listen. She opens a Holocaust museum in Terra Haute, Indiana, and tours the world to prove that she can forgive, but never forget.

Forgiving Dr. Mengele is the surprising tale of a victim who chooses to forgive rather than live her life in pain any longer. It is personal and fascinating, letting Eva's personality unfold in all her strength and weakness."
Memorable and Moving
Leslie Halpern | Central Florida, USA | 01/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw the 60-minute version of "Forgiving Dr. Mengele" at its world premiere at the Florida Film Festival and found it memorable and moving. The main theme of this documentary is the question of who benefits most from the act of forgiveness: the criminal or the victim? It's different from other Holocaust movies because the emphasis is on finding forgiveness rather than determining guilt or assigning punishment.

The film focuses on the story of Eva Mozes Kor (now in her 60s), one of the twin girls featured in a Holocaust photograph that intrigued co-producer Cheri Pugh. The Kor girls, along with other twins imprisoned at Auschwitz, were human guinea pigs for medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. The crew follows Eva around the world for four and a half years as she initially tried to gain information about the earlier experiments conducted on her ailing sister in order to save her life. After her sister's death, Kor changes her mission to spreading forgiveness.

She encounters much resistance in her travels to London, Israel, the West Bank, Auschwitz, Berlin, Chicago, and even in her home town of Terre Haute. Few people embrace her philosophy and many are openly hostile and even violent towards her ideas. Kor's forgiveness is what she needs to do to survive her horrible memories and accept her sister's lifetime of physical suffering. She's not doing it for the benefit of the Nazis.

This is obviously not a one-size-fits-all solution to healing emotional wounds, and the majority of viewers probably won't agree with her. The way that director Bob Hercules presents Eva's story, however, is touching, thought-provoking, and worthy of an audience.

Leslie Halpern, author of Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science and Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies.

What does it mean to forgive?
Kerry Walters | Lewisburg, PA USA | 06/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For many of us, the virtuosity of forgiving is a given. It's good to forgive, we say, and wicked to hold a grudge. Curiously, however, it's not at all clear what it means to forgive, nor whether forgiveness is always virtuous. Is forgiveness primarily directed at self-healing, letting-go of resentment and pain? Is it primarily directed at offering the transgressor a fresh start? Is it a mode of justice, or is it antithetical to justice? Can one forgive if the transgressor doesn't express remorse? Are some actions unforgiveable, such that forgiving them is morally wrong? Can one forgive a dead transgressor? Can one forgive on behalf of others?

"Forgiving Dr. Mengele" invites us to reflect on these sorts of questions by focusing on the extraordinary life of Eva Kor. Along with her twin sister, Eva was a human guinea pig in Dr. Mengele's notorious "genetic experiments" at Auschwitz. (Eva's sister would eventually die from the after-effects of the experiments.) Like all survivors of the death and concentration camps, Eva was incredibly scarred by her experiences.

Seeking documentation about the experiments she and her sister endured, Eva (who was then in late middle age) sought out and met with a Dr. Erich Munch, the only Auschwitz physician exonerated at war's end. This personal encounter, in which a German expressed deep remorse over what Germans had done to Jews during the Third Reich, persuaded Eva that the "enemy" had a human face. Moreover, she came to the conclusion that dealing with her own pain was her responsibility. As she says, "victims need to take responsibility for their own healing, just as perpetrators need to take responsibility for their crimes." So she publicly forgave the Nazis for the crimes they committed against her as a "life-changing experience, to be free of the pain." "Getting even," she asserted, "has never healed a single person."

This is an extraordinary enough story had the film ended here. But what makes the film an excellent reflection on forgiveness is its honesty about the critical responses to Eva's forgiveness. Other survivors who are interviewed insist that forgiving when it comes to Nazi atrocities is a denial of what happened; that it's a violation of justice; that it's a disguised form of forgetting, and thereby encouraging, atrocities; that only Nazis who atone, in deed as well as word, qualify for forgiveness; and that Eva has no right to forgive on behalf of other victims (this last is a misdirected criticism, since Eva is clear that she's forgiving only on her own behalf).

Moreover, the film makers point out that Eva has a great deal of resistance to forgiving Palestinian terrorists, thereby gesturing at the psychological complexities and blindspots that must be taken into consideration when examining forgiveness.

Highly recommended.