There are some strange pageants out there. From the child beauty pageants to beauty pageants for amputees and transgender people, if you can think of a category, there’s a beauty pageant for them. That includes Holocaust survivors, apparently. In Israel, 14 women between the ages of 79 and 97 competed to become Israel’s first-ever “Miss Holocaust Survivor” in what is the weirdest beauty pageant ever. Despite being billed as a celebration of life, the event isn’t without controversy. After all, there’s always a wet blanket in any group.
“It sounds totally macabre to me,” said Colette Avital, chairwoman of an Israeli Holocaust survivors’ group. ”I am in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading (survivors) with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.”
“They feel good together. They are having a good time and laughing in the rehearsals,” said Shimon Sabag, director of Yad Ezer L’Haver, or Helping Hand, which assists Holocaust survivors and the group that organized the pageant. ”The fact that so many wanted to participate proves that it’s a good idea.”
I don’t think this is a group that takes the holocaust lightly, considering all the good things they do for holocaust survivors. To me, it boils down to the participants? Are they having fun and enjoying themselves? If they are, it can hardly be called exploitative. After all, these are adults, not children, and adults can make their own decisions. If a group of women who survived the Holocaust want to honor their fallen and tell their stories, I certainly am not going to stop them.
The winner, for the record, was soon-to-be-79-year-old Hava Hershkovitz, who fled Romania in 1941 and spent 3 years in a Soviet detention camp.
Tags: israel, holocaust, miss holocaust survivor pageant, holocaust survivor pageant, miss holocaust survivor, unusual beauty pageants, controversial beauty pageants, colette avital, yad ezer l’haver, helping hand, holocaust beauty pageant, unusual pageants, unusual contests, controversies, Hava Hershkovitz, simon sabag