Latest News

Woman, 94, wins Holocaust survivor beauty pageant

By Mason White 2:37 PM August 23, 2013
Shoshana Kolmer 

By: Debbie Gross
(Scroll down for video) An old woman is extremely happy after winning an Israeli beauty pageant.

Shoshana Kolmer, 94, an Israeli citizen of Czech origin, smiled after winning the Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Contest in Haifa, Israel. Kolmer was liberated from Auschwitz in Poland. She told a story of how she used to sing a song to a Nazi guard every day, and therefore, received a small piece of bread. She immigrated to Israel in 1946.

The 18 finalists of the beauty contest on a stage in the Haifa basketball arena, wore beautiful dresses, their jewels, and their hair thickened with hairspray.

Unlike the typical beauty contestants, the Israeli women standing before a crowd of 2,000 were between 70 and 94-years-old. They all suffered through the Holocaust.

Esther Gorovitsky, one of the finalists, said the event “gave me the opportunity to be with other women, who have faced great adversity in their life.”

Dressed in a flattering black blouse and a long skirt with silver beads, she told how, when she was 6-days-old, her mother fled with her and her brother to Siberia.

“It’s good to be with other women who have experienced difficulties,” she said while looking at the other contestants. “We speak the same language,” she said.

When it was first introduced last year, Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Pageant drew both praise and criticism from Israelis, many of whom lost family at the hands of the Nazis.

Israel was created three years after the end of World War Two, largely as a refuge for the rest of the Jews of Europe who were not destroyed during the Holocaust. About 6 million Jews perished while millions more were interned in labor camps or survived in hiding in indescribable conditions.

Less than 200,000 of those survivors are living today in Israel.