There is controversy over a YouTube video of Holocaust Survivor, Adolek Kohn, dancing with members of his family to “I Will Survive, in front of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. There are those that are outraged over the video, viewing it as mocking the Holocaust. There are those who support it as a celebration of life. I stand with the latter.
I came across the video on the blog of Debbie Schlussel. Debbie and I have had our differences on various issues. This is however, one time I am completely on board with her views. There is a huge difference between pimping out a tragedy and celebrating survival of that tragedy. I will not restate the entire controversy as she has covered it quite well. As goofy as the video is, I frankly cried when I watched it. For a survivor to go back and joyfully dance on the horrendous memories of his fight and the fight of all European Jews for their survival to me is a celebration of life and our ability as humans to take tragedy and smile back at it. We did survive and more power to Adolek Kohn for allowing me to remember with a smile on my face. IMHO, Adolek Kohn has earned the right to “dance his experience” any damn place he pleases.
That was amazing. Thank you for sharing it.
Personally, I think it's shameful for anyone who did not experience the Holocaust firsthand to judge this man. He survived hell on Earth, & an experience no textbook, movie, or second-hand retelling can ever fully capture for those of us who didn't. While our human history will forever be altered by the events of the Holocaust, the experience belongs to him and other survivors, and what he chooses to do with that experience is for him to decide, and for other survivors to judge.
At first reading this, I was looking at the original picture of the suffering, and I thought someone had re-created the dance video with the emaciated picture. Kind of like you see in commercials, of a passed on celebrity or something. That I thought, to myself would have been offensive.
Then I saw the video and understood. It is a triumph and a statement of integrity. I cried. Just as I was so moved as a child and being introduced to the story of Anne Frank for the first time.
It was one of my favorite books.
The significance of this human tragedy was taught to us in the framework of how we as a country also triumphed.
My sister had the privilege to be present in Germany shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall. This video is not offensive to me. What is offensive to me, is the way we gloss over such things in educating our children today (in alot of instances), it seems, IN MY OPINION.
Just to specify, my sister was in Germany in 1990 and was able to get a piece of the Berlin wall. It is in a shadow box in her living room. The fact that this man can even return to those places is awe inspiring.
A touching post and video. Thank you.