Menachem Sholowicz and Anshel Sieradzki don't remember crossing paths briefly in 1944, at perhaps the defining moment of their lives, but the ink on their arms leaves no doubt. Serial numbers the Nazis tattooed on each man's arm at Auschwitz are consecutive—Sholowicz is B-14594 and Sieradzki is B-14595. "I rolled up my sleeve and sure enough—I stood exactly ahead of him in line at Auschwitz," says Sholowicz.
The pair's life stories are as similar as their tattoos, something they only realized when meeting again this year in Israel. And though the tattoos are permanent reminders of a painful time, their interactions have been surprisingly joyful. Seeing that familiar serial number "was a moment of great emotion, great excitement," says Sholowicz. "We went through it all together. We are like two parallel lines that never met."