Veteran comedian Joan Rivers has been blasted by a Jewish pressure group for a joke she made about German supermodel Heidi Klum’s daring Oscars outfit.
“The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens,” said Joan Rivers – herself Jewish – before doubling over with laughter.
Joan Rivers, 79, made the comment about the Holocaust on Monday’s Fashion Police show on E! when reviewing the low-cut shimmering gold dress worn by Heidi Klum to attend Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in West Hollywood.
The joke has attracted the wrath of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that combats anti-Semitism, and says Joan Rivers has trivialized an horrific event.
ADL leader Abraham Foxman said: “Of all people, Joan Rivers should know better. This remark is so vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Americans, that we cannot believe it made it to the airwaves.
“Making it worse, not one of her co-hosts made any effort to respond or to condemn this hideous statement, leaving it hanging out there and giving it added legitimacy through their silence.
“Almost as bad as her original comment is the fact that she sat there doubled over with laughter after saying it.”
Abraham Foxman continued: “There are certain things about the Holocaust that should be taboo. This is especially true for Jews, for whom the Holocaust is still a deeply painful memory.
“It is vulgar and offensive for anybody to use the death of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to make a joke, but this is especially true for someone who is Jewish and who proudly and publicly wears her Jewishness on her sleeve.”
Joan Rivers has refused to apologize, claiming her humor help to keeps the Holocaust in the public consciousness.
The comedian said: “My husband lost the majority of his family at Auschwitz, and I can assure you that I have always made it a point to remind people of the Holocaust through humor.”
Joan Rivers’ husband, Edgar Rosenberg, was born in Germany but his family emigrated to Denmark and then South Africa in order to escape the Nazis.
Joan Rivers and Edgar Rosenberg married in 1965 after he hired her to work with him on a screenplay. Edgar Rosenberg committed suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs in 1987.