The markings these rare Auschwitz tattoo stamps symbolized domination and abuse which ultimately led to untimely death but these metal objects are mere centimeters long.
The tattoo stamps of metal riddled with needles were used to mark prisoners in the ill-famed Auschwitz concentration camp. The said camp situated in Poland was the only one among the Nazis’ prison houses to tattoo prisoner camp numbers to every individual detained in it. The recent discovery is also only the second time tattoo stamps have been unearthed.
The tattoo stamps were unearthed in an evacuation route near Auschwitz and are set to be exhibited at the Auschwitz Museum located outside Oswiecim, Southern Poland.
“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.
Even a tattooed number is rare to be seen now as the last prisoners pass away. Those stamps will greatly enrich the new main exhibition that is currently being prepared,” stated Piotr M. A. Cywiński, professional historian and the Director of Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
The use of tattoo stamps in Auschwitz started in the autumn of 1941. The concentration camp’s administration came to this decision of branding prisoners their numbers to be able to easily identify Soviet prisoners of war.
The tattoo stamps, a metal seal with removable plates which had needles on it composing definite digits, were used to mark the number on the left side of the prisoner’s chest.
The tattooing procedure was done by a single blow with the use of an inked stamp.
However, spring of 1942 saw some changes in this process. Instead of branding the number on the chest, authorities ordered that prisoners’ numbers be tattooed on the left forearm. Nevertheless, the use of tattoo stamps on the chest still continued.
Needles that were soaked in ink and fixed on a wooden shaft were used to break the skin and brand the numbers.