by Josh Gross
Pageants have always been tacky. But that tackiness pales when compared to a pageant held in Israel this week: Miss Holocaust Survivor.
From an article on MSNBC:
The women, ranging in age from 74 to 97, clearly enjoyed themselves. Wearing black dresses, earrings and necklaces, and sporting blue-and-white numbered sashes, they grinned and waved as they were introduced to the adoring audience. Music played as the contestants walked along a red carpet, introduced themselves and described their memories of World War II.
"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. She said she lost her entire immediate family.
A four-judge panel consisting of three former beauty queens and a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in treating Holocaust survivors chose the winner.
Pageant organizers struck back against obvious criticisms, saying that this was less a contest of beauty than it was one that celebrated the long lives of its contestants. They added that the majority of the competition was based on personal stories of survival and tales of rebuilding lives after the war.
From a pool of more than 300 contestants, Hava Hershkovitz won the pageant. The 79-year-old Romanian survivor spent several years in a Soviet detention camp.
Miss Holocaust Survivor is not the only contest of its sort. Angola and Cambodia have both held Miss Landmine contests for women disfigured by explosions.