The Winter Olympic Games never fail to grab people’s attention, but it’s usually because of the beauty of what these athletes can do on the ice, or some historic/embarassing thing that happens during the games, or the much-needed reminder that curling is actually somehow both the weirdest and best sport of all time. It’s not usually a time when we are forced to remember the horrors of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, that’s what happened when Nicole Schott, a German figure skater, opted to perform to a song composed for the movie Schindler’s List.
Schindler’s List, the seven-time Oscar winner, is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Director Steven Spielberg famously refused to accept a salary for the project, claiming it would be "blood money," and instead donated all of his profits to the Shoah Foundation. It’s one of the saddest, most gut-wrenching movies of all time, and that reason alone would make it odd for a figure skater to actively try to recall the movie. But a German figure skater recalling the movie is really something else entirely.
The movie’s violin-based soundtrack was composed by John Williams, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
What’s worse is that Schott wasn’t even the first figure skater to perform to music from the movie. Months after the movie first debuted in the U.S. in 1993, another German figure skater and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katarina Witt chose to skate to the score during a non-Olympic competition.
The score made another appearance in 2014 at the Sochi Games when Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya used the score and eventually won gold. Think that’s bad? At least they didn’t take it as far as the two Russian figure skaters who actually did a Holocaust-themed performance on television.
The German who skated to Schindler’s List tonight at the Olympics reminds me of a clip I found in Nov 2016. Tatyana Navka, the wife of Putin's powerful spokesman Dmitry Peskov, did a Holocaust themed skating performance during a tv competition in Russia. pic.twitter.com/XxVRn6GeIV— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 23, 2018
Social media users immediately pounced on Schott’s bizarre music choice. Even though some tried rebutting that the song has been used a number of times over the years, for many, that's not an excuse.