‘I thought it was very surreal…’ Sullivan students learn about Eva Kor’s story through virtual reality program

It’s a program that uses virtual reality to provide a look into four places in Auschwitz that are pivotal parts of Eva Kor’s story.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 6:26 PM

SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) – Eva Kor’s legacy continues to live on.

On Monday, freshman students at Sullivan High School got to take part in “Virtual Reality: The Eva Experience.” It’s a program that uses virtual reality to provide a look into four places in Auschwitz that are pivotal parts of Eva Kor’s story. Students are studying the Holocaust throughout November in their English class.

“The important thing that I think students need to take out of this is empathy,” Jennifer Smith, an English teacher at Sullivan High School, said. “When we teach literature, we have that awesome opportunity to not only connect facts but also to connect facts with feelings and what other people are going through.”

Freshman Payton Templeton appreciates the non-traditional lesson.

“It was nice to know how everything looked instead of just reading about everything," Templeton said.

Ted Green is the director of the virtual reality program. He knows Eva’s story well; he produced “Eva: A-7063,” a documentary about her journey, in 2018.

“What this does is put students three-dimensionally in the four places that are most central to Eva’s time at Auschwitz," Green said. "On the selection platform. In the barracks. In the room, she called the blood lab where some of the experiments were done by Dr. Joseph Mengele…This is the key take away, we put them on the very spot where 50 years after being liberated, Eva returned to the camp, and she announced that she had forgiven Dr. Mengele. She had forgiven Adolf Hitler and all of the rest of the Nazis."

It’s an immersive experience for students.

"I thought it was very surreal, and in the rooms, you just felt like you were standing there looking at the aftermath and everything,” freshman Jacob Hawkins told News 10.

Green said the virtual reality program is the next step in sharing Eva's message.

“I do feel 50 years from now, 25 years from now, history is really going to smile on that woman from Terre Haute. If this can help further that legacy even just a little bit, then I will be very happy,” Green said.

The lessons that students learn through the virtual reality experience extend beyond the events of history.

“I don't know how she did it. I mean I don't know if I could have done it. I think it's pretty impressive that they tortured her and she forgave them 50 years later,” Hawkins said.

The virtual reality program will continue to tour the state. You can find out more information about the experience here.

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