86-year-old woman crowned ‘Miss Holocaust survivor’ at Israeli pageant

An 86-year-old great-grandmother was crowned “Miss Holocaust Survivor” Tuesday at an annual Israeli beauty pageant designed to honor women who endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide.

Ten contestants, ranging in age from 79 to 90, walked the runway of a museum in the city of Haifa, wearing hair and makeup and dressed to the nines with sashes adorning their dresses.

Organizers of the contest, which was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, say it brings glamor and respect to a dwindling number of Jewish women whose youth was stolen during World War II but who built new lives in Israel. .

“After what I went through in the Holocaust, I never dreamed that I could get to where I am, with a large family: two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren,” said contestant Kuka Palmon, who survived a pogrom in her. native to Romania.

“And yet here I am, at this great age, 87. It is something pious, it is indescribable.”

Miss Holocaust Survivor beauty pageant contestant (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Tuesday’s winner, Salina Steinfeld, was also born in Romania, where she survived Nazi attacks before moving to Israel in 1948, organizers said. Other contestants included a Yugoslavian-born woman who survived the Rab concentration camp in present-day Croatia.

Some commentators and survivors worry that the event will degrade the memory of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.

Dana Papo, whose grandmother Rivka competed on Tuesday, challenged that view, arguing that the contestants “deserve for everyone to see how much beauty there is in these women who went through so much horror.”

“We will show them how much we love and appreciate them. Thanks to them, we have a future and we have a country.”


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