To commemorate his grandfather who was a survivor of the Holocaust, Chief Warrant Officer Moni Gedi decided to tattoo the same number on his arm that the Nazis engraved on his grandfather's arm, a dehumanizing way to identify camp prisoners.
Every year, hundreds of IDF soldiers travel to Poland with the program "Witnesses in Uniform" to remember the Holocaust and mourn the memory of the 6 million Jews killed during the tragedy.
On this occasion, Gedi, who serves in Yaltam, one of the Israeli Navy's special forces unit, participated in the march that takes place in the Auschwitz concentration camp as a part of the program.
"I found myself thinking about my grandfather nonstop and about the loss. The loss of everything he had. I found myself writing something to my grandfather that I had hoped to read when I arrived in Auschwitz,” Gedi recounts during his stay in Poland.
Finally when he arrived to Auschwitz, Moni read the words he wrote while showing his tattoo of the number 79723, the same number as his grandfather.
"Dear grandfather, in your last moments, I was a 19 year old soldier; a young soldier, standing, wearing the uniform next to your bed in the hospital and you were happy that the Jewish people have an army. Through me, you are part of it too."
Through tears, Chief Warrant Officer Moni Gedi continued reading.
"Today, I, part of your offspring, am in Poland, in Auschwitz, with a tattoo of your number by my own choice, a free person, a soldier in uniform of the Israel Defense Forces. I’m here to show that the number that was recorded as part of the mechanism of destruction of the Jewish people did not disappear. I’m here to honor their memory and show that the Nazis failed in their attempt to annihilate us."
"Rest in peace. I, in the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces, promise you: never again. I love you, grandfather."