Sunday, July 1, 2012

Miss Holocaust Survivor

Israel hosted a beauty pageant for Holocaust survivors on Thursday and in the process, awakening and triggering deep emotions – organizers hailing it as an affirmation of life and detractors calling it a macabre spectacle.

Fourteen women, aged 74 to 97, who survived the Nazi genocide took the stage before a packed Haifa audience – every one narrating their personal stories before the capacity crowd.

Reuters pic

The contest winner, silver-haired Romanian-born Hava Hershkovitz, 79 – second right in the photo above – said her victory was “her revenge showing how despite the hoirrors her family went through, her beauty and personality have endured" according to Shimon Sabag, Helping Hand director, a private group that aids thousands of the estimated 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. He added: “We should never forgive and forget what they went through, but I find this a very constructive way to show these people remain beautiful.”

"It sounds totally macabre to me," Collete Avital, chairwoman of Israel's Holocaust survivors' umbrella group told the AP news agency.

"I am in favour of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading [survivors] with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful," she said.

Does this cheapen the memory of the six million Jews murdered in cold blood in the Holocaust during World War Two? I personally don’t think so but really it’s not important what you and I believe. What matters is that we recognize the evil that men do. Humankind should not forget the mass killings of our own species by our own kind. And we don’t seem to want to stop.

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