Beauty and pain take center stage in Holocaust pageant

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Czech-born Israeli 93 year old Shoshana Colmer (L) smiles after winning the 'Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Contest' in Haifa, Israel, 22 August 2013. The 2nd annual beauty pageant was organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Colmer was liberated from a death camp after taking place in the Death March from the Auschwitz camp in Poland. She told a story how she would sing a song to a Nazi guard in Auschwitz each day and for that she received a small extra piece of bread. She immigrated to Israel in 1946.  Photo courtesy EPA/JIM HOLLANDER

Czech-born Israeli 93 year old Shoshana Colmer (L) smiles after winning the 'Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Contest' in Haifa, Israel, 22 August 2013. The 2nd annual beauty pageant was organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Colmer was liberated from a death camp after taking place in the Death March from the Auschwitz camp in Poland. She told a story how she would sing a song to a Nazi guard in Auschwitz each day and for that she received a small extra piece of bread. She immigrated to Israel in 1946. Photo courtesy EPA/JIM HOLLANDER

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(RNS) Supporters of the pageants say the event, which featured live performances and even a comedian, is an affirmation of life and a boost to the contestants' self-esteem. Detractors call the concept "distasteful," saying it capitalizes on the victims' vulnerability.

  • Noa

    It must be refreshing to be honored for being a woman who overcame rather than depressingly asked over and over to relive each second of what they went through. They deserve to be celebrated that they live on, rather than milked for their story and left to experience it all over again in their minds.