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Lessons from a Tattoo Artist

February 1, 2019

An incredibly powerful blog, Jake❣️

Jake Owensby

My father served in the U. S. Navy during WWII. He saw his older shipmates’ crude, faded tattoos and heard their regrets about bearing a former girlfriend’s name on their bicep. So, he never got one. His sternly ordered me to follow his example.

Thanks to a former student, I’ve grown to appreciate tattoos and to admire the skill of high end tattoo artists. An artist herself, she opened her own shop in Manhattan. Last I heard, her clientele included an impressive list of well-known celebrities.

My mother’s arms were also free of tattoos, so it surprises some to learn that she had survived a Nazi concentration camp. Mauthausen. Outside Linz, Austria. It’s common to think that every concentration camp survivor bears a tattoo. But this is not so.

Prisoners in Auschwitz—and its subcamps Birkenau and Monowitz—bore identification numbers in their flesh. The reason allied liberators found tattooed survivors elsewhere…

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