The KL Tattoo: Auschwitz was not the only camp that issued tattoos

My grandfather had a tattoo, but he did not receive it voluntarily. He was not in Auschwitz.

He received the tattoo at a little-known slave labor camp called Mielec (pronounced Me-yale-itz) in eastern Poland during the Holocaust.

The KL tattoo stands for Konzentrationslager and was created by the Nazis to brand and dehumanize inmates selected for forced labor at several Concentration Camps in German-occupied Poland. The Wieliczka labor camp and the Budzyn labor camp (which my grandfather also survived) were two other camps where KL tattooing was done.

According to Meyer Megdal, a Shoah survivor who was at the Mielec camp: "We were ordered to form a single line before an S.S. guard who, using a pen and blue ink, expertly tattooed the initials KL on our right arms above our wrists."

Both men and women received the tattoo. All who received the tattoo were forced slave laborers for the Germans during the Holocaust.



Meyer Megdal, a Holocaust survivor from Hrubieszow, Poland, displays his tattoo.


Two unidentified survivors show their "KL" tattoos during a reunion.


Isak Arbus, a Holocaust survivor from Lublin, Poland, displays his tattoo.

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