There was a time less than a century ago when Jews in Germany were rounded up, shipped off to concentration camps and gassed to death. The Holocaust is an ugly historical fact about the nation, but, for the first time, a Jewish woman is one of the final 20 candidates in the Miss Germany contest.
Tamar Morali, 21, told the Jerusalem Post she understood the magnitude of her achievement.
“I see my candidacy not only as a personal achievement but as an achievement for the state of Israel and for the Jewish people in the Diaspora – that in Germany, a country with a very complex history with regard to the Jewish people, there is the first Jewish contestant for the title,” she said.
Morali was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, but moved to Vienna, Austria, when she was 8. She and her siblings attended a Jewish school, studied Hebrew and joined a Jewish movement. After taking a gap year trip to Israel at age 17, Morali fell in love with the country and chose to return to pursue a B.A. degree in communications and business, which she is currently completing at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
She recently took first place in the Look Style Awards at Vienna Fashion Week, where she made connections in the fashion world and heeded suggestions that she should apply for the Miss Germany 2018 contest.
Morali said her Jewish identity has aroused positive reactions and curiosity among the pageant organizers and other contestants. She said it’s important for her to showcase the open aspects of today’s German and Austrian societies while highlighting the strength of the Jewish community.
“They are not hiding – they are proud to have survived and to have created such a big community,” she said. “[The Nazis] tried to destroy us, and we are still here and still have a voice and are even cooperating with the Germans.
“I’m not saying we should forget the past, but to find a way that we can all live in peace, and I think this is a good start.”
Online voting for the Miss Germany competition opened Sunday. If Morali ends up winning the crown, she would represent Germany in the Miss Universe pageant.