The Letter Writer

This tattoo belongs to KI Hope:

This quote is from Isaac Bashevis Singer, from a short story called “The Letter Writer” in his 1964 novel The Seance. It combines one of my favorite authors and what is hands down the most moving piece of literature I have ever read with my veganism and cynical belief that man is the great destroyer. I was nervous to have the word “Nazi” on me, but Kevin Marr at Godspeed Tattoo tucked it inside my arm, so it isn’t obvious to the casual onlooker. Singer was a devout vegetarian and his whole family died in the Holocaust, so I felt that if he was so set in his ethics that he made this comparison, it is alright.

Literary Tattoos: The Seance The Letter Writer Isaac Bashevis Singer

In his thoughts, Herman spoke a eulogy for the mouse who had shared a portion of her life with him and who, because of him, had left this earth. “What do they know – all those scholars, all those philosophers, all the leaders of the world – about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka. And yet man demands compassion from heaven.” Herman clapped his hand to his mouth. “I mustn’t live, I mustn’t! I can no longer be part of it! God in heaven – take me away!”

- Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Seance


  1. David Lovely says

    Heh… Awesome tattoo, at least stylistically, but I find the sentiment offensive and actually kind of horrific.

  2. Natalie says

    I don’t find it offensive. I find what man has done to people and to animals extremely offensive. This tattoo helps remind us that we are not Gods. We are just creatures.

  3. says

    The people who are calling this offensive seriously need to get a clue. The background provided is evidence enough that it’s not. The author of the quote had experiences during the Holocaust that none of us can comprehend; if he saw fit to make this comparison (which doesn’t shock me in the least, and wouldn’t shock you either if you opened your eyes to catch a glimpse at where your meat and dairy come from), who are you to be offended by his choice, or by KI’s choice to tattoo commemorate and respect it by tattooing it on her body? Just shut UP.

  4. says

    I submitted this almost two years ago; thanks for finally posting it! Looking back at it, it’s funny how much I cared about offending people with it. Laura’s right; the truth isn’t pretty. I’ve talked to several Jewish people since getting the tattoo and they have all liked it very much; one man, the author Matt Biers-Ariel, got goosebumps from how powerful it is. No regrets on this one. Thanks for the comments guys.

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