Mielec Concentration Camp
Receiving a Tattoo
"I have a tattoo on my forearm. There were only two camps where they tattooed. One is very well known, the camp of Auschwitz, where they put the serial number on the left forearm. And the other one was the camp that we were. We were a satellite of the larger camp in Płaszów, the camp that was made infamous in the Schindler’s List film. So that camp and the satellites of that camp had a tattoo on the forearm.
Originally, when the order came in, the German commandant of the camp, Hauptscharführer [Josef] Schwammberger, announced that the tattoo was going to be done on our forehead unless we turned in every available valuable that we had. So the internal camp police collected whatever people had: money, values, treasures, chains, gold chains, watches, rings, whatever we had. We collected them and gave it to him so as not to have the tattoo done on our forehead. When we brought it to him, he looked at it and said, 'Is that all? Where’s the gold from the teeth? Unless you give me the gold from the teeth I’ll take it out from their dead bodies.' So the dentists start pulling [it] out. It was very common in Europe to have the fillings and bridges done with gold. So he pulled out all the gold from people's teeth and we gave it to him."