Holocaust Survivors Take the Stage to Honor What They Lost in This One-of-a-Kind Beauty Pageant
News| | By Margo Gothelf
While getting all dazzled up is part of the fun, the event is hardly about the looks and fashion, and rather a chance to honor the survivors. Over 300 survivors registered to be a part of the fifth annual pageant, which took place October 30. “Tonight we’re letting some women who survived the Holocaust have something that was robbed from them in their youth,” said David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, a sponsor of the Helping Hand group which organized the event. “We want to give something back to them tonight that’s for them to enjoy.” The women had a blast walking to “Pretty Woman” on the runway and posing for photos. Along with the pageant, a choir made up of Holocaust survivors sang songs to the audience about surviving in the ghettos during the war. According to the Times of Israel, “the members have an average age of 91.” Out of the 300 contestants, 14 women participated in the finals, where Russian-born Anna Grinis was given the final crown. Grinis, who was just two-days old when the war began, explained that her family barely made it to the end of the war. “When my mother was alive, she always used to tell me about this period (when) we ran way from Moscow… and there was nothing to eat there,” she said. “We barely survived.” “I have no words to describe how excited I am,” Grinis explained after she was crowned the winner. About 1,000 people attended the event, including Knesset members, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “You all have endured the darkest period in history, and despite everything, you chose life. You chose to raise families, to work, to create and to continue living. You won,” Netanyahu said.