INDIANAPOLIS — The struggles which Eva Kor overcame and the lessons she shared with people around the world became the focus of an award-winning documentary produced at the Indianapolis PBS station, WFYI.
One of the producers and photographers on the project, Mika Brown, says that even though this day is not an easy one, she remains dedicated to the work that still needs to be done and the message that still needs to be spread.
"She had this way about, you know, she just walked into a room, and she just owned it," Brown said. "It's hit me hard. It's hit her family hard. It's hit the community hard, you know. I'm hurting."
The award-winning documentary filmmaker is coping with losing a woman who saved her.
"She deeply, deeply cared for her cause and the things she preached — forgiveness — and she cared for those things deeply," Brown said. "But there was just this aspect to her, where she was just a loving, loving person. We would talk on the phone for hours."
Brown first met Eva Kor in 2010 when she was a news photographer for a station in Terre Haute, assigned to travel to Auschwitz in Poland to do a five-part series on the Holocaust survivor who called Indiana home.
"But what a lot of people don't know is two months prior to that, I tried to commit suicide. I was having difficulties coming to terms with who I was as a person. I was in a bad place," Brown said. "... Just amazing, she came into my life at that time because she changed my life. She changed my perspective on life. To have someone like Eva, who has been through so much, show you that perspective, show you what life really means, what matters."
Brown's documentary work on Kor focused on the survivor who lived to talk about the horrors she endured as a child in a concentration camp and the lessons on forgiveness that Kor spread through her speeches, interpersonal interaction, and the museum she founded in 1995 in Terre Haute, called the Candles Holocaust Museum.
"Every single day, she got up in the morning, and she preached peace and forgiveness, and she wanted to help people. And one of the things she was really proud of — and one of the things I'm really proud of her for — is that it wasn't just about the Holocaust. It was the bigger picture," Brown said. "It was anti-bullying... and it was about sitting with that kid in the lunchroom who is sitting with no one. You know, go sit with them. That's the kind of stuff she was preaching to people."
Last year when the documentary about Kor came out, she told RTV6 this was the legacy she hopes will transcend her time on earth.
"I will like people thinking of me to say thank you for being happy. I have a human right to be happy and free of any pain that life will impose on me. Because we all have pain that life imposes and if they can think of me in that way, I think my work is done."
The documentary on Eva Kor, 'Eva: A-7063' won seven Emmy awards last month. Producer Ted Green gave his Emmy to Kor, in which she tweeted a picture of her holding and said the award would go in a big trophy case.