The Auschwitz Tattoo in Visual Memory

Yossel April 19, 1943: A Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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Joe Kubert: Yossel April 19, 1943 - A Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, IBooks, 2003

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Joe Kubert’s graphic novel, Yossel: April 19, 1943 tells the experiences of Yossel, a 15 year old gifted illustrator, in Nazi-occupied Poland. As the story shifts between a concentration camp and the Warsaw ghetto, it also tells the story of an escape of Sonderkommando members from the camp. This illustration is a part of a description of the plan for escape, taking utensils in order to dig in the ground a hole for escape.

This illustration is an indirect use of the historic footage, as it is a mimetic allusion of the footage, reenacting the gathering of remaining objects in camp by a camp prisoner, and the revealing of the number tattoo out from the striped prisoner uniform, yet not during liberation. By showing the number tattoo together with a pile of utensils, the image appropriates the historical footage for the creation of a symbolic image, stressing the absent and present victims of the Holocaust, as the pile represents the absent victims, and the tattooed hand symbolizes the survivers of the camps.

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