Video of Dancing Holocaust Survivor at Auschwitz Sparks Debate


auschwitzIs it ever okay to boogie at a concentration camp? That’s a question that has been debated back and forth since a video surfaced of a Holocaust survivor and his family dancing to music at Auschwitz, the Nazi camp where over 950,000 Jews were killed.The video is the work of Australian artist Jane Korman. She filmed the video last summer with her three children and her father, Adolek Kohn, an 89-year-old survivor of the camp.

Adolek is shown wearing a T-shirt saying “Survivor.” He leads the family in a conga line, and is also filmed peeping out of a cattle car that was used to transport Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust.

The video recorded 500,000 hits on video site YouTube before it was yanked off the site on Thursday over copyright issues.

“I think it is wonderful, wonderful that so many people looked at this,” Adolek told BBC News. “Of course not everyone understands why we dance at Auschwitz.”

Some are gravely offended that the topic of genocide should be treated so lightly, even by a man who lived through it.

Michael Wolffsohn, a German Jewish historian at the Bundeswehr Munich, told The Associated Press that the video is “tasteless” and “embarrassing self-promotion” on Korman’s part.

He is not alone in that view. When the blog Jewlicious posted the video some of the comments were scathing.

“As the child of a Survivor, or simply as a human, I find the posting of this video to be disgusting,” one commenter wrote. “Shame on you.”

Overall, the response has been reasonably positive. After all, the video shows three generations of a family enjoying themselves at a place that attempted to kill Adolek as part of a plan to wipe out the Jews of Europe and kill others that were deemed inferior to the Nazis. Some have taken this as a symbol of joy and human life triumphing over evil intent.

A Los Angeles Times poll invited readers to choose a response to the video. Fifty-eight percent of those who responded chose “Lighten up people! This is funny! The family is celebrating the gift of life and the joy of survival.”

Rabbi Jason Miller of Farmington Hills, Mich., described the video as a “powerful message.”

“No matter how horrific and catastrophic were the acts committed by the Nazis in the last century, the Jewish people are still having children and grandchildren,” Miller wrote on his blog.

Kohn told Sky News that the video was a celebration of family and survival.

“We came to Auschwitz with the grandchildren and created a new generation, that’s why we danced,” Kohn told the news agency.

Korman, the creator of the video, said she wanted to impress the importance of the Holocaust on a new generation.

“The images ones sees of the Holocaust were numbing,” Korman told BBC News. “I needed to create something that would wake people up, that would create a new response to this past, because it is so important.”

For her father, it was simply an exuberant celebration of life in the face of overwhelming hardship.

“We said hurray for the dead people, then we started to dance,” he told BBC News. “We are alive. We survived. We were dancing to the song of survival.”

{ Newscenter}


  1. If a group of Yeshiva guys make a Kum Zitz there, I would find that tasteless or at least weird. However, a survivor dancing there is celebrating a victory of survival.

  2. I understand the dancing, and think it’s wonderful, coming from a survivor, HOWEVER, Auschwitz is a cemetery and it’s not appropriate to dance in or around a cemetery.