Children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors rouse varying reactions, from reverence to disgust, to their new tattoos commemorating their ancestors.
When Eli Sagir showed her grandfather, Yosef Diamant, the new tattoo on her left forearm, he bent his head to kiss it.
Mr. Diamant had the same tattoo, the number 157622, permanently inked on his own arm by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Nearly 70 years later, Ms. Sagir got hers at a hip tattoo parlor downtown after a high school trip to Poland. The next week, her mother and brother also had the six digits inscribed onto their forearms. This month, her uncle followed suit.
“All my generation knows nothing about the Holocaust,” said Ms. Sagir, 21, who has had the tattoo for four years. “You talk with people and they think it’s like the Exodus from Egypt, ancient history. I decided to do it to remind my generation: I want to tell them my grandfather’s story and the Holocaust story.”
Some see it as a beautiful way to remember and honor those who went through so much suffering:
“To me, it’s a scar,” said Ms. Doron, who grew interested in the numbering while drawing blood from a tattooed arm in an emergency room. “The fact that young people are choosing to get the tattoos is, in my eyes, a sign that we’re still carrying the scar of the Holocaust.”
Ms. Sagir, a cashier at a minimarket in the heart of touristy Jerusalem, said she is asked about the number 10 times a day. There was one man who called her “pathetic,” saying of her grandfather, “You’re trying to be him and take his suffering.” And there was a police officer who said, “God creates the forgetfulness so we can forget,” Ms. Sagir recalled. “I told her, ‘Because of people like you who want to forget this, we will have it again.’ ”