Sunday 17 November 2019

Brutal set of Auschwitz tattoo needle stamps found

Discovered metal stamps, with a-few-millimetre-long needles, used for tattooing KL Auschwitz prisoners
Discovered metal stamps, with a-few-millimetre-long needles, used for tattooing KL Auschwitz prisoners

Matthew Day

Metal stamps with embedded needles that the SS used to tattoo the prisoners of Auschwitz have been found in Poland.

The discovery has been hailed by the museum that now stands on the site of the camp as one of "the most significant in years".

It was thought no original tattooing equipment survived the war.

SS soldiers used the small stamps, consisting of a two, two threes and a six or a nine, to tattoo inmates as they were processed on their arrival at the camp in German-occupied Poland. Some prisoners were marked on the chest but most were tattooed on their arms, and the numbers became a hallmark of Auschwitz's inhumanity.

"This is one of the most important finds in years," said Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz museum. "The sight of a tattoo is getting rarer every day as former prisoners pass away, but these stamps still speak of the dramatic history that took place here."

The museum has declined to say who found the stamps and where, other than that it was in Poland.

Auschwitz was the only Nazi camp that tattooed its prisoners. At first, identification numbers were sewn on to inmates' clothing but the practice was dropped because the clothes often disintegrated and guards found it hard to identify the dead. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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