At 10, Eva Mozes Kor survived experiments by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. At 50, she helped launch the biggest manhunt in history. Into her 80s, after decades of pain and anger, she traveled the world to promote what her life journey taught: hope, healing, and humanity.
WFYI Public Media and Ted Green Films traveled more than 90,000 miles over two years to capture this remarkable Hoosier’s legacy. We partnered with Butler University and the Indianapolis Heartland Film Festival to host a sold-out world premiere of the film to a crowd exceeding 2,000 on April 5, 2018. Since then, over a million people have seen the documentary as it was broadcast over 1,000 times on PBS stations across the country.
In just over a year, we have been involved in over 70 screenings or events where we presented about Eva and our educational materials. The extensive list of partnerships we cultivated has helped greatly with this, including with the local Jewish Community Center, Jewish Federation, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Heartland Film Festival, Indiana History Center, Indianapolis Downtown IMAX, IUPUI, Indianapolis 500 Festival, Indiana State Fair, and many others.
We developed an Eva Educational Toolkit that encompasses a one-hour version of the film and a multiplatform Educator’s Guide. This toolkit has brought Eva’s message into over 300 schools thanks to partnerships with the Indiana Library Federation, Indianapolis Public Schools, and the Indianapolis Rotary Foundation. The Educator’s Guide provides 12 lesson plans around Eva’s key messages such as empathy, respect, and acceptance. Each lesson plan incorporates film clips, discussion questions and activities to help students work through these concepts and interact with their classmates. These lessons align with the IN Workforce Employability Skills, IN Social Emotional Learning Competencies and the Emotional Health Education Standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We have developed the Eva Virtual Reality Traveling Exhibit. Eva’s favorite endeavor was leading groups on her annual tours to Auschwitz. We wanted to bring this life-changing experience to students in their classrooms, so we developed the VR Tour that gives students 360-degree views of four locations central to Eva’s time at the camp. This has become one of the most immersive and powerful parts of our education program as students feel like they are getting a personal tour by Eva herself.
We learned the value of tasking one person, our Eva impact and distribution manager, specifically with maximizing impact. We found great success in engaging outside expertise in the form of our 18-person Eva Advisory Council, which provided feedback as well as inroads to local organizations. Reaching out to schools can be difficult because districts have different structures. We wish we had developed an educational council to help with that specific need.
We suggest that stations looking to develop a multipart project have a centralized information location. For us, this was TheStoryofEva.com. That’s where we have screenings/events with an interactive map, a downloadable discussion guide, a request to host a screening, and more.