Sisterhood Blog

Russian Ice Princess's 'Schindler' Moment

By Talia Lavin

  • Print
  • Share Share

(JTA) — Julia Lipnitskaia, a 15-year-old Russian skating prodigy, took home the Olympic gold with a routine set to John Williams’ “Theme from Schindler’s List.”

Lipnitskaia skated in a red costume meant to evoke the iconic “girl in the red coat,” who briefly appears in the movie “Schindler’s List” to enhance the pathos of a scene of the liquidation of Krakow’s ghetto.

For many, the slender girl’s soundtrack choice struck a sour note in an otherwise breathtaking routine. “Schindler’s List on Ice,” as one member of the Twitterati called it, was, for some, another strange element in an already bizarre Olympics that has been plagued by malfunctioning snowflakes, toilet troubles and political unrest. Max Fisher, a foreign affairs blogger at the Washington Post, had a typical reaction:

As Justin Peters pointed out on Slate, Lipnitskaia is far from the first figure skater to use music from “Schindler’s List” for a routine. The movie’s wrenching resonance suits skating’s exaggerated emotional beats.

While it’s hard to deny that the sight of a glittery-Spandex-clad interpretation of “Schindler’s List” does push some iffy buttons, it’s important not to conflate Spielberg’s movie with the Holocaust itself. “Schindler’s List” is significant for raising and sustaining awareness of the Holocaust and its hidden heroes, but using a Hollywood film theme in a figure skating routine is not necessarily any kind of desecration. The red coat-clad girl Lipnitskaia riffed on was a fictional creation, meant to pull on audience’s heartstrings, to a soundtrack of Yiddish folk song.

Strong detractors of Lipnitskaia’s routine might need to be reminded that Spielberg’s creation is just that — a masterfully crafted work of fiction representing the Holocaust, not a historical artifact, and not, indeed, history itself.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: olympics, gold medal, Schindler's List, Julia Lipnitskaia

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.