Lee’s participation in the tour was largely due to his wife, Bess, who advised him not to delay.
On the second day of the tour, Kor, 85, passed away. The group was only informed of his death at the end of the tour.
“They wanted us to get the most of the experience by being there,” Lee said. “They told us (of Kor’s death) on the bus back to Krakow. We understood that they wanted us to have this experience without the added heartache. “
But this wasn’t the last time Lee heard Kor tell his story at Auschwitz II-Birkenau. In early 2020, Lee traveled to Poland again to visit the concentration camp, this time as part of a small group using audio from Kor’s voice, compiled by officials at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum. and Education Center, created by the Terre Haute Kor museum. This time, Lee heard Kor’s voice throughout his visit.
“She was quite a storyteller,” Lee said. “I had Eva in my ear.”
This second tour cemented much of Kor’s story for Lee, something he used in his graphic novel.
“Going with CANDLES is so special, to live it with someone who’s been through it,” Lee said of the second trip.
He recalls standing on the selection platform, where Kor and his sister were separated from their family. “To stay in this place,” Lee said, shaking his head.