Scrapbookpages Blog

December 9, 2012

Otto Schimmel, an Auschwitz survivor who has no tattoo

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:17 am

This quote is from a news article, which you can read in full here:

[ Otto] Schimmel wasn’t tattooed. But for other survivors, the tattoos symbolize the moment the Nazis tried to rob them of their humanity with a number. A universal sentiment is illustrated in this summer’s documentary “Numbered.”

In an article on this website, it is mentioned that Otto Schimmel was a prisoner in Auschwitz:

There, [Betty] Schimmel met her future husband, Otto Schimmel. He had been held at the Auschwitz concentration camp and had lost his entire family in the Holocaust.

So how did Otto Schimmel get out of Auschwitz with no tattoo?  Prisoners who were selected for the gas chamber were not tattooed. What is Otto’s story of how he escaped from the gas chamber?

This quote is from the article which tells that Otto Schimmel has no tattoo:

Decades later, Schimmel recalls in vivid detail, the horror of the gas chambers. “Everything was locked and they had ventilation to pull the oxygen out and they pumped in the gas, so sometimes it took minutes. So [my] mother, my sister and my grandmother were killed within an hour.”

Otto Schimmel knew all about the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where his mother, sister and grandmother were killed within an hour of their arrival, but Otto was not selected for the gas chamber.  He wound up later at Mühldorf, a sub-camp of Dachau.

This quote is from the article about tattoos:

Schimmel will never forget those dark days when the identification marks were an attempt to degrade. He was just 17 when he was imprisoned in Muhldorf, Germany.

Prisoners at Dachau and it’s sub-camps were not tattooed.

It appears that Otto Schimmel was selected for labor when he was sent to Auschwitz, and because of this, he was not tattooed.  Prisoners who were brought to Auschwitz and then transferred out of the camp were not tattooed.  Auschwitz was the only place where Jews were tattooed, and then only if they were imprisoned in the Auschwitz camp.  Auschwitz was also a transit camp and those who were transferred out of the camp, after a period of quarantine, were not tattooed.