Disco dancing at Auschwitz


The Telegraph (not JTA’s catch-all blog, but the British newspaper) is reporting that some Holocaust survivors are upset over a viral video of a survivor and his daughter and grandchildren boogying down at various concentration camps to the Gloria Gaynor’s disco hit "I Will Survive."

Why the upset?

Kamil Cwiok, 86, who was a child when he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis, condemned the footage.

Mr Cwiok, most of whose family died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, said: “I don’t see how this video is a mark of respect for the millions who didn’t survive, nor for those who did.

“It seems to trivialise the horrors that were committed there.”

Mrs Korman defended her work, saying: “I wanted to make artwork that creates a fresh interpretation of historical memory.

“It might be disrespectful, but he (Adolk) is saying ‘we’re dancing, we should be dancing, we’re celebrating our survival and the generations after me’ – the generation he created.

“We are affirming our existence.”

My brother sparked a back-and-forth with an e-mail titled, "Owning it or desecrating it? or both?"

BROTHER: I think in the end, I like the idea of it as an in family project.  Not sure I like it as a public art piece (the choreography just wasn’t good enough).

JTA EDITOR: It works for me.

FRIEND WHOSE HUSBAND SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME ON HOLOCAUST ISSUES: I was prepared to hate it, but I found myself smiling at the old guy and thinking "owning it." And I think the cheese ball choreography contributes heavily to the owning it side. Anything more accomplished would have been untoward.

Why did it work for me? The clinchers came at 1:10 and 1:38 — the grandfather’s willingness to revel in the most outrageous shots imbues the video with an earnestness that left me feeling OK with it.

That said… I can’t shake Cwiok’s point — it’s all very nice for the survivor to prance around. But what about respect for the millions who actually died.

Please weigh in.

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