The mystery over the tattoo on illusionist David Blaine's arm has been cleared up - it's a tribute to Holocaust author PRIMO LEVI.

Blaine has previously refused to discuss the subject simply saying, 'Read the book', whenever anyone asks why he has a tattoo of Levi's AUSCHWITZ number, 174517.

But the magician - who is about to try and spend 44 days without food suspended in a glass box above the River Thames in London - has finally explained the circumstances behind the tattoo.

David - himself Jewish - tells the website PAGESIX, "I was in Paris reading SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ and he mentions his number. The second I read that, I was so moved that I ran into a tattoo place to get it.

"It's the most amazing book I ever read. He told the story in a very truthful, unbiased way.

"All the other survivor books said, 'All the Nazis were so bad - feel sorry for us.' But Levi wrote, 'Some Nazis were good and did what they could for us; some Jews were worse to us than the Nazis. Some Jews let their numbers go first to become martyrs.'"

02/09/2003 17:16