“I touched the scar on the left forearm just below the elbow. I had the tattoo surgically removed. There were so many people who didn’t know and so many questions: “What do those numbers mean?” “Is that your address?” “Is that your phone number?”
What was I supposed to say? “That was my name for three years and forty-one days?”
One day a kind doctor offered to remove it for me. “This is not charity,” he assured me. “It’s the least I can do as an American Jew. You were there, I was not.”
So I chose to have the questions excised from my arm; but, not my mind —that can never be erased. This piece of skin the doctor surgically removed rests in a jar of formaldehyde which has turned the flesh to an eerie green. The tattoo has probably faded by now, I haven’t checked. I need no reminders. I know who I am. I know what I was.
I was on the first Jewish transport to Auschwitz. I was number 1716.”