Is Holocaust survivor’s dance to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” disrespectful to those who perished or rightfully celebratory?
Adolek Kohn and his family traveled to his native Poland to visit the concentration camps that very well could have been his burial sites.
But instead of lamenting over the tragedy, the family decided to dance.
Now, the video of their clumsy dancing to the techno-hit “I will survive” in front of infamous locations of the Holocaust has gone viral on YouTube and Facebook.
The video shows Kohn, his daughter and three grandchildren in front of the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, Poland’s Lodz ghetto, the Dachau concentration camp, and the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work sets you free”) sign at Auschwitz. Another scene shows the family inside a cattle car that transported victims to the camps.
Debate over whether or not the video is a proper way to pay homage to the tragedy has spread all over the world. Some argue that the video is completely appropriate since Kohn himself is a Holocaust survivor celebrating the future of his family. Others say the video is highly disrespectful and unnecessary.
The Associated Press wrote about the video earlier this week:
Kohn, shown at one point wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Survivor” and flashing a V-for-victory sign, told Australia’s Nine Network he didn’t think the video was offensive because the dance was distinct from the memory of those who died.
“Why did I do that? First of all because I came with my grandchildren,” he said in an interview from his home in Melbourne, Australia. “Who could come with their grandchildren? … Most of them are dead.”
“We came to Auschwitz with the grandchildren and created a new generation, that’s why we danced,” he said.
Korman, a Melbourne-based artist now visiting Israel, filmed the clip during a trip she took with her father, four children and a niece last summer to Kohn’s native Poland, and to places in Germany and the Czech Republic where he once lived.
Her parents, both Auschwitz survivors, fully support the video, Korman told the AP. “They both say … ‘We came from the ashes, now we dance,'” she said.
’s a link to the video.
What do you think? Comment below.
To read more from the Associated Press, click here.
-AJW Intern Max Johnson