Tuesday, November 18, 2003
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. â€” A fire destroyed a museum founded by a Holocaust survivor early Tuesday and arson is suspected, a museum official said.
The fire was reported at the CANDLES Museum (search) just after midnight and gutted the building, a former printing plant south of the city's downtown.
"The police said there was a brick that had broken the main glass door, and they threw something in there that was an accelerant," said Mary Wright, the museum's education director. "Even the display cases were practically burned down to the ground."
Someone also wrote "Remember Timmy McVeigh" on a wall. Timothy McVeigh (search), the Oklahoma City bomber, was executed at a federal prison outside Terre Haute in 2001.
Terre Haute police referred calls to the Fire Department, which did not return messages.
Doug Garrison, a spokesman for the FBI in Indianapolis, said his agency is not involved in the fire investigation, but could be asked to assist.
CANDLES stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Experiments Survivors. The museum was founded in 1995 by Holocaust survivor Eva Kor. It houses artifacts from Auschwitz (search) and documents relating to Dr. Josef Mengele (search).
Kor and an identical twin sister, Miriam Mozes Zeiger, were subjected to Mengele's genetic experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her sister died of cancer in 1993.
Kor did not return phone messages left Tuesday at her home and office.
Wright said the museum had never received any threats.
"People think this doesn't happen in nice little places like Terre Haute, Indiana," she said.