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Sunday, January 29, 2023

98-year-old Holocaust survivor explains why she will never remove her Auschwitz tattoo

“I want to show the world. The world should know how deep they cut, how deep humans can go,” explained the elderly woman, who went through hell in the concentration camp.

Lily Ebert, 98, has never been ashamed to talk about what she saw and experienced during the Holocaust, about anti-Semitic atrocities. Having lost over 100 relatives, including her mother and siblings, to genocide, she considers it her life’s work to raise awareness of these horrors in the hope that history will never repeat itself.

Her task has become even more serious in recent years, when anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have seen a resurgence. And today, with the help of her 18-year-old great-grandson, his message reaches millions of people.

Although the Holocaust may seem too serious a subject for a TikTok-caliber “teen app”, the elderly lady has found a huge audience here. In her very first year, she gained 1.7 million followers with videos in which she openly talks about the Jewish ghettos and the horrors of Auschwitz, where she was imprisoned for four months.

Her success on social media has given the elderly woman wings and spurred her to write a book. Ebert also co-published the book with her great-granddaughter, “Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live”, which was published in May this year. The book is special not only because of the horrific memories it evokes, but also because the foreword was written by the new King of Britain, Charles (then Prince), who is also a patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Foundation.

And Lily Ebert is one of seven Holocaust survivors who have been commissioned by the King to have their portraits painted by artists for a new initiative to mark Remembrance Day, which has been exhibited at Buckingham Palace and Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh.

The elderly woman was also a guest on Good Morning Britain, where Lily spoke about the exhibition entitled Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust, among other things, but was asked a question to which her answer surprised many. When the audience asked her if she had ever thought about removing the number tattooed on her forearm, Ebert replied.

“No, I have never thought about having it removed. I want to show the world. Seeing something or to hear about it, it makes a big difference. The world should know how deep they cut, how deep humans can go. The fellow humans give a tattoo. You are not a human, you were not Lily Ebert anymore, you were a number. You wear a tattoo, you wear a number. Not more, not less,” she said.

As for why she’s so insistent on sharing her story with the world, the 98-year-old said, “My story today is never my story, it is the story really for the thousands, millions, who cannot talk. I am here to talk, I can do it because they are not here anymore. I have to do it, to talk about the millions who cannot talk anymore. They killed my mother, brother and sister and other millions of other innocent people.”

“The Holocaust was the biggest crime against humanity,” Ebert said in the video, which was viewed 1.2 million times in just a few days.

“Never before were factories — factories — built for killing people. I was there in Auschwitz-Birkenau,” she explained. “I am a witness, and the world must never, ever forget the greatest crime against humanity.”

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