Nowadays, tattoos are an extension of oneself. They have become the external tale and visual log of one’s life choices. Yet for others, tattoos are a mark which they didn’t want, and one they’ll never forget. When Dana Doron, a 31-year old doctor and daughter of a suviver, interview about 50 tattooed survivors from the the Israeli documentary “Numbered,” what she captured along with photojournalist Uriel Sinai, was both engaging and thought provoking.
Among the tales told by those who survived, only those deemed fit for work were tattooed, so despite the degradation, the numbers were in some cases worn with pride, particularly lower ones, which indicated having survived several brutal winters in the camp. “Everyone will treat with respect the numbers from 30,000 to 80,000,” Primo Levi wrote in his seminal memoir, “Survival in Auschwitz,” describing the tattoos as part of “the demolition of a man.”
After the war, some Auschwitz survivors rushed to remove the tattoos through surgery or hid them under long sleeves. But over the decades, others played their numbers in the lottery or used them as passwords. In present day, many of the children and grand children of survivors have taken it upon themselves to tattoo the same numbers which branded their family as a memorial to what their blood line has survived and endured, while praying that this evident shall never be repeated again.
Here’s a few of the photos they captured.[smart-grid]