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Forgiving Dr. Mengele

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Product Details

  • Actors: Eva Mozes Kor
  • Directors: Cheri Pugh, Bob Hercules
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,448 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Forgiving Dr. Mengele" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Co-Director Bob Hercules
  • Biographies
  • Web Resources & Links
  • Production Photos

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 of criticism it has provoked. Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were victims of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele's cruel genetic experiments--an experience that would haunt them their entire lives. The film follows Eva's metamorphosis from embittered survivor to tireless advocate for reconciliation. This unexpected transformation was sparked when Eva, in an attempt to get information about the experiments, met with another former Auschwitz doctor and was stunned to learn that he also suffered from nightmares about Auschwitz. Eva's ideas about justice, revenge and the possibility of healing through forgiveness--as well as the passionate opposition from other survivors--become a window to a larger discussion of the many ways people define forgiveness.

This personal agenda morphs into a political crusade, as Eva finds herself challenged--in the US, Germany and Israel--by other survivors who view her as nothing short of a traitor. Seemingly undeterred, Eva remains steadfast in her conviction that personal healing through forgiveness is not inconsistent with the need to never forget. Yet Eva's life and her vision--and by extension the film itself--take dramatic, unexpected turns: a meeting in the West Bank with Palestinian teachers yields decidedly mixed results, and then, amazingly, we watch as this woman, who in 1995 built a tiny museum in a Terre Haute strip mall as a tribute to her twin sister Miriam and other child survivors, is forced to witness the destruction of this memorial by hateful neo-Nazis. Can Eva's convictions withstand these terrible tests?

Thrusting itself into the roiling debate about how Jews in general and Holocaust survivors in particular must view the perpetrators of Nazi atrocities, Forgiving Dr. Mengele pointedly asks: is it easier to forgive than to forget?


Impossible not to be moved. Surprisingly uplifting! --The New York Times

A genuinely thoughtful vehicle for discussion, debate and real thought. --Jewish Week

This moving film explores the trauma of a Holocaust survivor with rare complexity. --Entertainment Weekly

Customer Reviews

I am actually angry at her and feel horrible for everyone else in the film.
This is a true story of one such woman, who came to discover that the only way to be freed from her burdening experiences of the holocaust was through forgiveness.
B. Saines
Astonishingly, she actually forgave Dr. Mengele and the Nazi's for what they did in the concentration camp.
Kyle Tolle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Tolle on May 23, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brendan M. Howard on April 22, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on June 7, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Halpern on January 14, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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