Israel’s city of Haifa has held an unusual beauty pageant. The first ever Miss Holocaust Survivor has been held on June 28 with 300 participants vying for the title.
Many of the contest’s participants originated from Romania and Poland were lucky to avoid camps. Most of them lost their families. Some wrote books to record the horrors they faced.
Organizers of the competition explained the event was thought of as a celebration of life. The jury judged the participants not just by their appearance but also by the personal stories they had to tell.
“They feel good together. They are having a great time, they laugh in their dressing rooms,” one of the organizers said.
The finals saw 14 ladies between 73 and 89 years of age.
Hava Hershkovitz, 78 won the competition, Associated Press reports. In 1941 she was sent from Romania to a Soviet concentration camp, where she spent three years.
Apart from supporters of the idea, quite a lot of people criticized the contest.
Among them was the leader of Israels’s Colette Avital group of Holocaust survivors.
In their opinion women who have gone through so many physical and moral horrors and survived the most difficult times for Jews in the modern history shouldn’t be judged by appearance.
The jury included four members, three former beauty queens and a psychotherapist, who is engaged in work with Holocaust survivors.
The competition came as a part of an annual culture evening in support of Holocaust survivors.
Around 270,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel.