New York, NY, October 21, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) criticized as “abhorrent” a contest appearing on the Russian social media site Vkontakte asking members of a pro-Hitler group to vote for their favorite pictures of anti-Semitic women.
The “Miss Ostland 2014” contest appeared on an “Adolf Hitler” group page of a neo-Nazi Russian and Ukrainian online group that had more than 7,000 followers before it was taken down this week.
“Ostland” refers to the Reichskommissariat Ostland (RKO), the Nazi civilian occupation regime in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that was responsible for the liquidation and extermination of Jews from those regions during the Holocaust. In response to the call for entries, a number of women posted “selfies” of themselves in suggestive poses. One contestant was shown posing with a reproduction German SS military visor.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:
It is unfortunately not surprising but still shocking that a group of neo-Nazis in Russia and Ukraine thought up an abhorrent pro-Hitler beauty contest whose rules of entry include being a “woman who hates Jews” and encouraging users to “post a sexy Nazi pic.” We are gratified that the page was subsequently removed by Vkontakte.
Here is a country – Russia – that lost millions of people during the war with Germany who suffered more than any other country under the privations imposed by the Nazi regime. It is also a nation where recent polling has found that 30 percent of the adult population harbors anti-Semitic attitudes.
For us, the fact that the contest took place is a reminder of the importance of continuing education about the lessons of the Holocaust and the legacy of anti-Semitism in Russia.