Tying into the theme for the 2017 Parade, Accelerating the American Spirit, the opening performance celebrated “ Renegades” from within our community who have overcome challenges to achieve great things. As Grand Marshal, Eva led Hoosiers in the celebration of the human spirit.
Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust and forgiveness advocate. At the age of 10 she entered Auschwitz where she was separated from most of her family. She and her twin sister were subjected to unthinkable medical experiments and fought daily for their own survival until the camp was eventually liberated. Kor’s experiences in Auschwitz, coupled with her never-give-up attitude, led her to a life of advocacy work, teaching remembrance, understanding, and hope.
A resident of Terre Haute, Ind., Eva co-founded the organization, CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiment Survivors) as well as the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, also located in Terre Haute. Remarkably, after her internment at Auschwitz, Eva publicly forgave the Nazis. Eva works tirelessly, dedicating her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
To honor her extraordinary work, Eva Kor was named Grand Marshal of the 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade. Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, in concert with officials from the 500 Festival and IPL surprised Eva by announcing her selection as this year’s Grand Marshal during her Sachem Award ceremony on April 13, 2017. The Sachem Award is Indiana’s highest honor.
“Eva Mozes Kor is a hero and the ultimate Renegade. Despite a childhood that was consumed by utter devastation, she decided to live her life based in hope, forgiveness, courage and selflessness,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Eva’s compassion, resilience and spirit is an inspiration to us all. We are proud to have her serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade and we can’t wait to celebrate her!”