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The Number on Your Forearm Is Blue Like Your Eyes: A Memoir by Eva Umlauf


Translated from the German by Shelley Frisch
Foreword by Michael Brenner; afterword by Naomi Umlauf

A co-publication of Mandel Vilar Press and Dryad Press
Paperback with French Flaps / photographs /  240 pages / $24.95  ISBN: 9781942134961
eBook / $9.99 / E-ISBN:9781942134978

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Tattooed in Auschwitz as a toddler, Eva Umlauf outlasted her Holocaust ordeal and became a healer of children.

On November 3, 1944, a pregnant Agnes Hecht with her twenty-three-month old daughter Eva was pushed out of a box car onto a train ramp in Auschwitz, having been transported from a Jewish labor camp in Slovakia. Though a fellow prisoner warned Agnes tat to survive the gas chamber she must abandon her child, Agnes held on tightly to Eva. For some reason, they were not “selected” Instead they entered the death camp and were branded. Eva’s prisoner ID number, A-26959 remains etched on her forearm.

Late in lie Eva resolved to find out what had happened to her and her family during and after the war. With the assistance of journalist Stefanie Oswalt, shee conducted interviews, visited labor and death camps, and conducted archival research in Europe and Israel. As American University Professor Michael Brenner writes in his foreword, “This is not just the story of survival but also of a childhood in the shadow of the Holocaust, a youth under Communism, and a new life in an emerging democratic Germany. It is a story which will surprise even those who think they know everything about the Holocaust.

The memoir concludes with an Afterword by Naomi Umlauf, Eva’s mixed-race granddaughter. Read “A Granddaughter’s Reflections” here.


Eva Umlauf was one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. After World War II she returned with her mother and sister to Trenčín in Czechoslovakia. She studied medicine, married a fellow Holocaust survivor in 1966, and managed, with difficulty, to leave Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia and settle with her husband in Munich. After his untimely death and with a child to support, she worked as a clinic doctor, later opening a pediatrics practice and becoming a child psychotherapist. She married a second time and had two more sons. In 2011, Eva first spoke at the commemoration ceremony in Auschwitz, and since then has been involved in many research projects and as a contemporary witness in international conferences. She continues to practice psychotherapy.

Shelley Frisch taught at Columbia University and Haverford College, where she chaired the German Department, before turning to translation full-time in the 1990s. Her translations from German, including biographies of Friedrich Nietzsche, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Marlene Dietrich/Leni Riefenstahl (dual biography), and Franz Kafka, along with many other works of fiction and nonfiction, have been awarded numerous translation prizes, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize. 

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