Believe it or not, John Williams’s somber score from Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Schindler’s List is a fairly common soundtrack for figure skaters to use in competition. Johnny Weir, Russian figure skaters Yulia Lipnitskaya and Irina Slutskaya, and 1994 German gold medalist Katarina Witt have all used the score in their routines. During last night’s free skate, however, German Olympian Nicole Schott used the score to accompany her performance and understandably set the home audience on edge.
The film is, of course, about a German industrialist offering refuge to Jews facing the threat of being sent to death camps by Nazis, which makes it an…interesting choice for a German athlete to choose. The score, performed by violinist Itzhak Perlman, won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1994.
Here is Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones’s spirited reaction upon hearing that a skater representing a country that was on the wrong side of World War II competing to a score from a movie about the Holocaust.
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) February 23, 2018
Although past skaters have used the music without incident, given the climate post-Charlottesville and the hyper-visibility of white nationalists in the Trump era, it’s totally understandable that music that references Nazis would upset people.