An 86-year-old great-grandmother was crowned "Miss Holocaust Survivor" on Tuesday in 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 – dressed to the nines and with full hair and makeup, walked the catwalk in Jerusalem.
Organizers of the contest, which was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, say it bestows glamour and respect on a dwindling number of Jewish women whose youth was stolen during World War Two but who went on to build new lives in Israel.
Contestant Kuka Palmon, who survived a massacre in her native Romania, lives to tell her story.
"What I went through as a holocaust survivor I would never dream that I can get to this position with an extensive family where I have two kids, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and I am here in this great age, 87, this is a godly thing, it is indescribable.”
Tuesday's winner, Salina Steinfeld, was also born in Romania, where she survived Nazi attacks before moving to Israel in 1948.
Other contestants included a woman born in Yugoslavia who survived a concentration camp in modern-day Croatia.
Some critics and survivors worry the event cheapens the memory of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.
One woman, whose grandmother competed on Tuesday, disputed that point of view, arguing that the contestants, quote "deserve that everyone see how much beauty there is in these women who went through such horror.”