The Auschwitz Tattoo in Visual Memory


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Joe Sacco: Palestine, Random House, 2003

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Joe Sacco’s Palestine is a collection of nine issues of a comic book series that was written and drawn after a two month visitation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in winter 1991-1992. This illustration is a part of a meeting Sacco portrayed, which took place in Nablus, between him and a young man who was shot five times during the first Intifada. The first injury the young man shows Sacco is the one on his hand. He rolls his sleeve and stretches his hands, revealing a wound on his arm.

This image bears indirect relations to the original footage, as it is a transformative resonance of the original materials; the showing of the wound, and not of a tattoo, is done within the Israeli-Palestinian context of conflict, in which a young man is suffering in the events of the first Intifada. In this case, the dominant visual relation the image bears to the original footage is its configurational analogy to the footage; the gesture of rolling the sleeve and showing the hand, the wound, an evidence and an indicator for the young man’s suffering, also resonates with the original footage of the children, showing their own physical evidence of their suffering.

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