Israel’s Supreme Court has temporarily stopped an auction of a tattoo kit, the branded equipment used to draw bar codes on human skin, used at Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. In a ruling on Monday, the judges said they were skeptical of the company’s claims that the tool was used by skin health technicians and not by slave laborers like the prisoners there.
The kit was first sold in 2010 by a company called Sun Tattoo World to customers from around the world. It is now being sold by a company called Cleartrans Tattoo. A witness wrote in a statement that he had witnessed two employees at the cosmetics company Arnot-Roberts withdraw the bar code tool and hand it to the ringleader at Auschwitz, a Nazi doctor. A lawyer for Sun Tattoo World countered that the bar code tool was used as a temporary tattoo rather than a permanent tattoo. The company argued that the judge had no jurisdiction over whether a single device was or was not used in one specific place during World War II. The company had planned to sell the tattoo kit as an “unconditional and irrevocable” for $1,275.
As co-chair of the Jewish museum at Auschwitz, Seth Porges was skeptical of the allegations. “For nearly a hundred years, there has been a healthy and a healthy-minded debate over the question, did Jews in Auschwitz, or German prisoners in Auschwitz, or prisoners at other camps … were used in the concentration camps?” said Porges, according to the NBC News. “It has been the easiest question to ask, and it has not produced any definitive answers.”
The judge in the case, David Erez, ruled that claims that the tattoo tools were used solely by skin technicians during the Holocaust was not up for debate, and ordered the auction to stop. “We’ve found nothing to refute this claim. They’re completely negating that,” Erez said. “I understand that if you have the evidence that they gave us, it’s difficult to rule against such a claim, but I’m not going to allow that.”