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

Beauty and pain take center stage in Holocaust pageant

(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.