Big News From Oswiecim!

(10:00 am) Big news! I’m not letting the cat out of the bag just yet, but there’s a press conference today in the main conference room of the former Auschwitz 1. Stay tuned–you’ll be the first to know!

(3:00 pm) Remember the item I wrote about on the 25th? Well, I along with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum are proud to officially release news that the museum has just acquired an original partial set of tattoo needle blocks, used in the former Auschwitz camp. You heard it here first in the USA!  Until now, the only extant example of this barbaric tool was in the collections of the Military Medical Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. This partial set was found along the evacuation route of the camp, in southern Poland.

A series of needles outlining the numbers zero, a pair of threes, and two digits which may be six or nine, are attached to each of the five newly-acquired blocks. In the fall of 1941, the former camp administration had decided to use tattooed numbers to identify prisoners due to the extremely high death rate. These particular needle stamps were the first type of tattoo method used by the SS, in which the entire number was painfully stamped upon the imprisoned people on their chests, then ink was rubbed into the wound. This method would have been first used on several thousand Soviet prisoners-of-war, and later, a more efficient method of tattooing was adopted using individual needles on the left forearm.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was the only concentration and extermination camp where tattooing was used to identify prisoners.

According to Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, “It is one of the most important findings of the recent years. We couldn’t believe that original tools for tattooing prisoners could be discovered after such a long time.”

Congratulations to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State museum on this amazing find!  Check out the official news from the museum’s website here.

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