One of the legacies survivors Auschwitz have carried with them all their lives is their “number” - the serial numbers tattooed into their flesh. The tattoo was administered to prisoners upon arrival, part of the systematic Nazi program to dehumanize inmates and make them more amenable to enslavement – or to walking into a gas chamber.
Now, officials at Auschwitz have discovered a set of metal stamps with embedded needles that were used to tattoo prisoners. The set, which consistes of a two, two threes, and a six or nine, is the first full set of such stamps every found.
"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."
Cywinski declined to give details of the discovery, saying only that the stamps were found “in Poland.” Auschwitz was the only concentration camp where prisoners were tattooed.