by KIERYN RUBY
A couple days ago, Russian gold medal skater, Tatiana Navka, and her partner, Andrei Burkovsky, participated in an ice skating competition with a routine centered around the Holocaust. The pair was dressed in striped pajamas with identification numbers and yellow Stars of David. Tatiana and Andrei skated to the song “Beautiful That Way”, which is on the soundtrack of the award winning movie Life is Beautiful. The routine included moments specific to the Holocaust, including the sounds of dogs barking and gunshots as Andrei was “shot” at the end of the routine. This emphasized the cruelty of the concentration camps by demonstrating the unpredictable nature of who would survive and who would not.
This routine sparked much outrage around the world and put Tatiana under scrutiny, especially since she is the wife of Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman. Jeremy Jones, director of international affairs at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, voiced that it was “unbelievably tasteless”, but also stated that “[He hoped] the backlash to the routine would serve to remind the world of the horrors of the Holocaust”.
The intended purpose of this routine was to honor the people who went through this horrendous event and teach others about the Holocaust. With that being said, I do understand the motivations of the routine; however, I find it extremely disrespectful to Holocaust survivors and their descendants because of the hardships they had to endure. When the Holocaust is used in this manner, it puts their experience on for show, making the subject seem not as serious as it is. Someone should not try to use such an emotional and heartbreaking topic for competitive gain. Although seventy years has passed since the Holocaust, hate groups around the world continue to spread a message of discrimination and evil. This is why it is vital that we teach others about this historical tragedy.