• Samples of Activity #7 from
    The Number on My Grandfather's Arm

    Mrs. Holmes Reading Class

     In The Devils Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, Chaya and other Holocaust prisoners used mnemonic devices to memorize their numbers and others tattooed on their arms. After reading the novel, Mrs. Holmes classes were given their own number to create their own way to remember it.


    S - because I am Swedish, and I was caught Taking Jews to Sweden by boat

    1 - because I had one dog

    2 - because I have 2 sisters in this concentration camp

    3 - for how many children are in my family

    2 - because I have two shoes

    5 - for the number of my family members

    4 - for how many times I work a day



    The J stands for Jew because I am a Jew.  I will survive.

    The 1 stands for my one and only brother. He will survive.

    The 2 stands for my two loving parents. They will survive.

    The 4 stands for the four people in my family. We will survive.

    The 4 stands for the four questions asked at the Seder. They will never die.

    The 7 stands for the seven days that I pray. I will survive.

    The 6 stands for the six days that G-d made the world. We all will survive.



    C stands for the Catholic religion that I am

    2 stands for the number of people that died in my family

    8 stands for the number of people that are in the same bunk as me

    4 stands for the number of friends I have made here

    0 stands for the number of hours Ive gotten to sleep since Ive gotten here

    6 stands for the number of Nazis that stand guard around my barrack

    2 stands for the number of times I get fed each day



    This is my number:J125455

    This is my name: Debbie

    This is my status: Prisoner

     J  is because I am a Jew Hated for no apparent reason.

    12 is my age;the age I will not die at.

     5 is for the members of my immediate family. G-d bless us all.

     4  represents the 4 chambers of my heart. None of which will burst here. I will not die here.

     5 is the days I want to go to school. I want to be a doctor.

     5 is for my immediate family members who have survived, who will survive with G-ds help.



    I - I am an Italian. The son of a political prisoner who spoke out against Hitler.

    12 - I am 12 years old. I will live through the Holocaust. I will survive.

    3 - There are three children living in our family.

    2 - There are two parents living in our family.

    5 - All five family members survived the selection process.

    3 - There are three relatives of ours living in this camp.