Where is Elie's Tattoo?

Elie Wiesel's arm, Where is the Tattoo?

Elie Wiesel has told us for over 50 years that he was tattooed at Auschwitz in 1944, and that his tattoo number is A7713. He has repeatedly said that he still has this original tattoo on his arm. Just last March in Dayton, Ohio, Elie met with the press, high school and college students, and 2300 members of the local community. As reported in the Dayton Daily News , one student asked Wiesel if he still has his concentration camp number and if it serves as a reminder of those terrible experiences. "I don’t need that to remember, I think about my past every day," he responded. "But I still have it on my arm – A7713. At that time, we were numbers. No names, no identity."Read More

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   Posted on June 11, 2017 at 7:19 pm

My work on “Night” is featured in a talk given by Jewish Professor Alan Astro at St. Francis College in 2014

Alan Astro PhD, Trinity University

By Carolyn Yeager

I happened upon this video and recognized my own text of Yiddish-to-French-to-English translation being used by this professor at a Catholic university in San Antonio TX. Though a native of Brooklyn, Alan Astro says he has been at Trinity University for over 25 years. His field is modern languages and literatures; one of the subjects he teaches is Yiddish culture.

His lecture, titled “Christianity and the Holocaust in Elie Wiesel’s Night” was filmed by St. Francis College and at the 6min59sec mark, he shows text from my very important 2012 article “Night #1 and Night #2—What Changes were Made and Why, Part One.” So you never know who is reading this site – a lot of people and all people who have a professional interest in Elie Wiesel.

At 6:59, Astro shows text translated by Kladderadatsch for this web site, which he calls “Where’s the tatoo?” (sic). He says that even though Yiddish was not known very well even in the Jewish world … “Holocaust deniers somehow get their hands on the Yiddish and manage to get it translated. Here is one holocaust denier or minimizer on the web who makes a whole big deal about the fact that in the Yiddish and French and English original translations Wiesel “is not quite 15” when he is arrested and sent to Auschwitz, whereas he is 15 in the newest edition and this is considered to be something that somehow questions the veracity of the whole historical knowledge of the Holocaust. But that’s another issue all together. But it does show you that things can very often have strange consequences.” (He goes quickly to something else at 8:10. So Astro has my text on the screen for one minute, 11 seconds, enough time to read it all.

This is the segment he used:

3.  Not yet fifteen … or fifteen?

UdV Page 63 : Yingl, vi alt bistu? fregt mir a heftling.  Zeyn pnym iz geven in der fintster, ober zeyn kol iz geven a mids, a varems. Nokh nisht keyn 15 yor, hob ikh geentfert.

“Kid, how old are you?” a prisoner asked me.  His face was in darkness, but his voice was tired and warm. “Not yet 15 years,” I answered.

LN Page 54:  Hé, le gosse, quel âge as-tu?  C’était un détenu qui m’interrogeait.  Je ne voyais pas son visage, mais sa voix était lasse et chaude.  “Pas encore quinze ans.” / Not yet 15 years.

SR Page 39: “Here, kid, how old are you?” It was one of the prisoners who asked me this. I could not see his face, but his voice was tense and weary. “I’m not quite fifteen yet.”

MW Page 30:  “Hey, kid, how old are you?” The man interrogating me was an inmate. I could not see his face, but his voice  was weary and warm.  “Fifteen

This very important passage was discussed above. I think the reader would agree that “not yet 15″ can mean even farther from the age of 15 than “not quite fifteen.” What is clear is that Marion Wiesel has changed the author’s original words to fit them to her husband’s age in Spring 1944.

Astro dismisses this important observation with the misrepresentation (in boldface above) that the example is intended to negate the entire holocaust story. No, it isn’t; obviously it questions the veracity of Elie Wiesel’s truthfulness in “Night” since this scene took place in April or May, and the real Wiesel’s 16th birthday was coming up on September 28, 1944. Thus Wiesel was not 14 in Spring ’44, but had already been 15 for at least 7 months. Astro is not interested in telling that to his audience or pursuing it himself. He is a professor of languages and literature, but not an expert on Elie Wiesel or the Holocaust. Far, far from it.

Another photo of Professor Alan Astro.

At 19:33, hear him pronounce Wiesel’s name as weasel (as I say it) and then quickly correct himself to the affectation Wie-zell that he used throughout the talk. This indicates that ‘weasel’ is his default way of pronouncing the name, or the way he first learned it.

At right is another photo of Professor Astro I found online that gives what might be a truer look at the man.

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