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Grinning and waving, 14 women who survived the horrors of World War II paraded Thursday in an unusual pageant, vying for the honor of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”

Billed by organizers as a celebration of life, the event also stirred controversy. In a country where millions have been touched by the Holocaust, many argued that judging aging women who had suffered so much on physical appearance was inappropriate, and even offensive.

“It sounds totally macabre to me,” said Colette Avital, chairwoman of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ umbrella 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.”

Pageant organizer Shimon Sabag rejected the criticism, saying the winners were chosen based on their personal stories of survival and rebuilding their lives after the war, and physical beauty was only a tiny part of the competition. Read the full article on Haaretz.com

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I Will Survive (July 2010)

A YouTube clip depicting five people dancing to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s song “I will survive” in front of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz has resurfaced at the center of a trans-Atlantic controversy.

Australian Jewish artist Jane Korman filmed her three children and her father, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Adolk, in the video clip “I Will Survive: Dancing Auschwitz.”

The clip depicted the Korman family dancing in front of Holocaust land marks in Poland, including infamous entrance sign to Auschwitz death camp reading “Arbeit Macht Frei,” a Polish synagogue, Dachau, Theresienstadt, and a memorial in Lodz.

Her father at one point in the clip even wore a shirt on which the word “Survivor” was written. Read the full article on Haaretz.com

Articles and interviews on the controversial video can be found on the artist’s website.

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