A tattoo is a design made under the skin with ink or other pigment. Usually decorative or symbolic. It’s a type of body modification.
Different Characteristics of Tattoo : Pain
First interesting characteristic of tattoo concerning the implication of the individual is: pain. Tattoo is painfull as the law forbide the use of analgesic except for some creams with a very light effect. Even if it’s done by a very good tattoo artist and with a modern dermograph tattoo stay painfull especially if it lasts for hours. In the past tattoo was considered as a proof of virility. If physical pain is perceived as individual, the pain created by getting tattooed is something that all the tattooed persons got in common. We can imagine that there’s a kind of respect between the tattooed person first and then between the tattooed and those who are not. Tattoo fascinates by it’s beauty, it’s link with the infinite and the pain one have to bear to wear it. To what extent pain enables to create an identity for the one who get tattooed? We can think to the rituals of the primitives communities that gives an identity value (“i become a man”) thanx to the passing of a test. In a lot of these primitive rituals pain is linked to courage and is a part of the “game”. In this way we could say that our western modern societies don’t play that role anymore. We are no more “framed” by collective symbols as religion has declined; and the growing individualism makes people create their own rituals. The pain of tattoo has no comparison with the pain due to an illness but to a necessary pain to obtain something desired: a tattoo. The anthusiats of body modifications say that you are not in pain in this case, pain can be mastered because it is volountary an ddesired. Here pain is only an element of the movement of a person toward it’s other itself, as tattoo is the mark of the reappropriation of the body. As the prisoners; the modern tattooed persons reintroduce a ceratin idea of freedom that they’ve chosen and in the same time a frame, rules that they can’t find in modern societies.
But in the proper field of pain we can note that if nowadays tattoo is a pleasure and a choice it was for a long time the symbol of a real suffering. beyond the mark applied by force to the thieves centuries ago, we find the symbolic of the marked population during the enslavement of the blacks or the darkest hours of world war II. 60 years after the liberation of the nazi concentration camps
Most of the jews tattooed by force by the SS, have kept their mark. But few are the suvivors of Auscwitz that want to erase these mark. So the tattooed of auschwitz are fighting against the oblivion and the refusal of some to not see the horror. In the camps, nazis didn’t see human beings anymore but futur casaulties; and called them by their number to dehumanised them. What is worst that to rob it’s identity to a human being?
Tattoos were only made in auschwitz which was a death camp. Those who were not tattoed on the first day were selectioned for the gaz chamber. Paradoxically it was worst not to be tattooed. Tattoo was established in this camp to avoid errors in the accounting of the killing; so from 1941 the slavonic prisoners of war was marked and in the spring of 1942 tattoo becomes compulsory for every jewish men, women and child. Even babies are tatooed inside the thigh. The non-jewish were marked too and had a letter to show their “status”: a “Z” for the gypsies ( meaning zigeuner), an “A” for the aryans…the number was the ultimate identity card to those whom everything had been stolen from. The deportee had to be able to spell their number in german. And tattoos were made in alphabetical order.
Some of these tattooed wanted to get rid of these mark. But for a lot of them they are proud of it and don’t want by remonving it deny their origin and what they’ve been through. Most of them hide this number under their clothes, But not by shame rather by modesty. This tattoo is the proof they’ve survived. Those who got it removed wanted to forget and so avoid to answer the questions of people that would know that mark. Tattoo is still a stain of nazism for some of them. And as some yougsters don’t know the meaning of this tattoos it could be usefull to keep it not to forget what happened. This is the fight of some who keep their tattoos.
And their was in auschwitz some who saw in their tattoo a sign of hope. In fact some believers used cabbala to read a favourable numerological futur.
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