Gilad Atzmon – gilad.co.uk June 30, 2012
Hava Hershkovitz, right, a Holocaust survivor and winner of a beauty pageant is congratulated by another participant, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Thursday, June 28, 2012. Fourteen women who lived through the horrors of World War II paraded on stage Thursday night in an unusual pageant, vying for the honor of being Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.” (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that “Hava Hershkovitz, 79, was crowned ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’ at a pageant held in Israel on Thursday.”
On Thursday, in a most unusual event, 14 Jewish women who survived the horrors of the Shoa paraded vying for the honour of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”
Billed by the organizers as a ‘celebration of life’, the nearly 300 women from across Israel who registered for the competition were whittled down to the 14 finalists who appeared on Thursday.
As ever, suffering, victimhood and survival were shown to be at the heart of Jewish and Israeli culture. “I have the privilege to show the world that Hitler wanted to exterminate us and we are alive. We are also enjoying life. Thank God it’s that way,” said Esther Libber, a 74-year-old runner-up who fled her home in Poland as a child, hid in a forest and was rescued by a Polish woman.
The Miss Holocaust Parade seems to be one of the last remaining opportunities to extort cash out of the elder community. Today, nearly 200,000 aging survivors live in Israel – enough to keep some businesses afloat and I guess it is only a matter of time before we learn from the Huffington Post about the Shoa bodybuilding contest. (I understand that some survivors like my great uncle Yanka’le still visit the gym once a week). Such a contest could be endorsed by food supplement and weight lifting equipment companies – ideally Germans.
Apparently, Gal Mor, editor of the popular Israeli blog “Holes in the Net,” has already envisioned such a development, Yesterday, he pointed out that the Miss Holocaust pageant was misguided.
This is one step short of `Survivor-Holocaust’ or `Big Brother Auschwitz.’ It leaves a bad taste. Holocaust survivors should be above all this,” he wrote.