In a move that is at least as historically confused as Kirk Cameron’s Halloween revisionism, Russian women were queuing up to compete in what has been called a “Miss Hitler" beauty contest.
On the website VKontakte, which has been described as “Russia’s Facebook”, and has an interface very similar to the old classic Facebook wall, an “Adolf Hitler” appreciation group page was recently accepting uploads from beautiful Russian women. These pictures were being voted upon by other group members. The theme was “Miss Ostland 2014”.
Ostland was an occupied area in the Baltic states, Poland, and Belarus set up by Nazi Germany in 1941. It was an area intended as “Lebensraum” or “living space” that the Nazis felt they could expand into and live once the rest of the world was conquered.
The “Adolf Hitler” group on VKontakte has over 7,000 members. It was started by someone using the name “Aleksandr Anderson”. Women who upload pictures to the group for the “contest” sometimes wear Nazi attire or memorabilia. They are asked to also include a quote with their photo about why they “love and revere the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler”.
Some contestants quotes include praise for Hitler for being “willing to experiment on people”. Another said Hitler was “our eternal race; He has been given eternal life”.
Notions of racial purity and the supposed superiority of the Aryan race, as well as derision for Jews, is the theme of the day.
For most people living in the region, the idea of glorifying Hitler is shocking and offensive. The Nazi regime and Hitler’s troops inflicted more damage and death on the Russians than on any other nationality during World War II. In the Western world, we think of British and American troops marching to face down the Nazi threat. The heroism and price paid by the Russians is less familiar. But the toll exacted in Russia can still be seen today.
Not long after the “pageant” was reported on in the U.S., word got out that the whole thing was being shut down. Apparently VKontakte did not want to be seen as harboring such hate-filled activities. They issued a statement that their terms of service prohibits “loading, storing, publishing, disseminating, making available or otherwise using any information which: propagandizes and/or contributes to racial, religious, ethnic hatred or hostility, propagandizes fascism or racial superiority.”