Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tattoos or Branding






Photo Unkown 


In the early 1990's I designed one of a kind knitwear and owned a store in Toronto.
In bespoke design a measuring tape was a permanent fixture around my neck.
One day while working with a new client, I asked to take her measurements
She removed her jacket and branded upon her arm were the blurred blue numbers of the tattoo. I had seen these numbers in movies and literature but nothing, nothing prepared me for this.





My tape measure dropped to the floor and my eyes clouded over in tears.  With my greatest will, I was able to get the measurements I needed and tried as best I could to compose myself.   She knew.
Her kind blue eyes are imprinted in my memory.


We became friends and she visited me on Mondays usually bearing my favourite coffee and bagel.


Today is the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.   I bow my head in memory and I never will forget those blue eyes and blurred blue numbers.



43 comments:

  1. Darling Helen,

    What a shattering experience.
    As more and more is revealed of the horrors of the Holocaust, one can scarcely understand the depths of evil that were experienced by countless thousands. And, to have it all brought home by such a personal encounter would and, clearly, has made a lasting impression with you.

    Human suffering on such a scale stands as a reminder to us all of what acts of evil can occur under the cloak of a 'cause'. One hopes that we can learn from history's lessons.........but, do we?

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    1. Hello my friends,

      It was so unexpected to see these numbers and I know my heart skipped several beats. Without words we connected in some way.
      Evil doers can justify their actions in their warped minds. Your last sentence is a very good question and I pray for wisdom
      Helen xx

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  2. Helen, I cannot say anything but that we must always remember. XXXX

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  3. I was watching a documentary about this two days ago...meeting those who survived...a very great blessing xxx

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    1. It must have been a powerful and emotional documentary. A blessing and may God continue to bless all of them

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  4. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt experience and thoughts
    Tears. I remember the man's arm at the deli on East 10th Street, and the stun of his numbers on my soul.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your encouragement
      I fully understand your feelings following your experience at the deli.
      Helenxx

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  5. I'm glad you and she both found a friend, Helen. Your memory and reflection make history very real to me: real people, real connections with real tape measures, terrible things only a few links away in the human chain.

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    1. Hello Mise
      We did indeed connect. She imparted her wisdom and views of life which I greatly appreciated. You write so beautifully Mise and how you connect the tape measure and the links to the human chain is so poetic.
      I absolutely love your style of writing. When is your book coming out?

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  6. Oh my word what a compelling story...moving

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    1. Thank you and I am so blessed to have met her.

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  7. What an experience. I would have broken down and cried. I can see why you'll always remember it.
    Sam

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  8. Hello Sam

    I was shaken and the tears were in my eyes as I measured her and I avoided eye contact till I was composed. It was an experience I shall never forget and am grateful to have met her

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  9. Oh what a moving story Helen. I have never seen one of those tattoos, but would be very shocked if I did. How lovely that you became friends after meeting this way. It is very good to see the commemorative events in Europe and the UK for this sad anniversary.

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  10. Hello Patricia,
    I had not expected to see her branded arm. I grew up on a farm in Ireland and my father was adamantly against branding of animals and instead they wore coloured tags to indicate they were vaccinated etc. It evoked all sorts of emotions in me to think one person could do this to another.
    Helenxx

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  11. Dear Helen - this is such an affecting post - At the Memorial Day in Auschwitz there were only 300 present from the camps who were young children at the time. They are growing old and it is important that we now remember their stories for them, and that lessons are learnt.

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    1. Hello Rosemary,

      It is impossible to understand how this all happened. Your wording "it is important that we now remember their stories of them" is beautifully said
      Helenx

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  12. My dear Helen,

    This is such a powerful and moving story. I am pleased to hear that you became good friends. We must remember that the crimes of the Holocaust must not be repeated in our history again. It makes me sad for realising what human beings are capable of doing to one another. If we don't speak out against anti-Semitism and hate crimes, the world won't know what happened. My prayer is that somewhere in the midst of tragedy, suffering and loss, let the families and loved ones heal, change lives and may those who have died in violence find peace.

    With best wishes, ASD xxx

    PS. I read an article recently about some of the workplaces start to ask their employee to put a microchip implant under their skin which enables you to unlock the doors without a security token or a key fob and withdraw cash, etc. It makes me feel a little bit unsettled. It is a similar form of having tattooed numbers on one's skin.

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    1. My dearest ASD
      I have been thither and fro for the past two months and sorry for not responding to sooner. It was my pleasure to be her friend and just being in her presence gave me strength and wisdom. Your prayer for peace to reign in the lives of those who have suffered such atrocities I echo.
      I would not accept being micro chipped for any job. It is unsettling and is an invasive. No, and no
      Helen xx

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  13. I can't even begin to imagine how emotional it must have felt. Some people have lived through so much horror and sometimes I think that the human race has not really learnt anything from the mistakes of the past.

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    1. Yes Loree some have had horrific experiences. Power and greed seem prevalent. I continue to pray
      Helen xx

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  14. Dear Helen,

    I can see this scene playing out in my mind, and can completely understand your reaction. Yes, what evil the human race is capable of, and so many years later, we are seeing and hearing about similar atrocities, still, today. It's shocking and unbelievable and it isn't going away.

    Take care, my friend.

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. Hello Poppy
      It was so unexpected Poppy and I was shocked. She did have a peace about her and she choose not to be hostile or bitter. She did not have anger. I was blessed to meet her
      Helen xx

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  15. A very moving story I read a few books a bout the holocaust and each time it is so difficult to comprehend. I am happy that you found a friend

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    1. Hello Marja

      The sadness and cruelty of the holocaust is heartbreaking and incomprehensible.
      It was a joy to have known my customer/friend
      Helen xx

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  16. A beautiful post Helen about two special women.

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      You are so kind and thank you for such a flattering comment
      Helen xx

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  17. Dear Helen, your story moved me, it shows how we are all connected. Jane xx

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    1. Hello Jane

      Thank you for reading my post. I am glad to have found you through blogging
      Helen xx

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  18. Dear Helen,
    I'm really speechless. Picturing the scene in my head.....not sure I could have continued working. I do think it is important we never forget, so thank you for sharing your story.
    Regards,
    L

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    1. Hello Loi
      Like you I was, too, speechless. I am not sure if I worked to my full capacity that day but I went through the motions. Yes we must not forget
      and thank you or reading my post
      Helen xx

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  19. What a beautiful story. Thank you

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  20. Oh Helen the travesty of this should never leave our minds as it is a reminder always of what can happen in this world. You are a brave woman, as is your friend.

    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Hello Karena
      Your words are so true and wise. I thank you for thinking I am brave and my friend pertaining was a very brave woman
      Helen xx

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  21. Helen, such a moving post. How one person can do this to another I will never know. How lovely that you remained friends. God Bless you, love Linda xx

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    1. Hello Linda
      Thanks Linda for your blessed wishes. Lovely to see you visit.
      I pray for peace as I know you do
      Helen xx

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  22. Dear Helen I don't usually comment on your blog but this story is extraordinary and so beautiful. Kind regards Eleanor

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    1. Hello Eleanor
      I am delighted to read your comment today. Thank you for your kind words. I was blessed to have met this dear woman
      Helen xx

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  23. Dear Helen. I have stopped by to thank you for the warm words you left on my latest post and I'm so touched by this powerful post. I can only imagine what it would be like to see evidence of such horrific evil. Right there, in front of me.
    I have read so much about that war and the horror of those concentration camps and yet have never known a single person who endured that unimaginable pain. Thank you for sharing this story and for reminding us of such an important anniversary.
    I am grateful for my friend Jeanne for introducing us.
    Leslie aka Gwen Moss

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  24. Recently watched Night Will Fall on HBO. The images should be witnessed by every living being and the shame of humanity burdened by all to ensure the atrocities stop as even today they carry on in the nightly news.

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