The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Richard Armitage – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 07:25:50
Published September 4th, 2018 by HarperCollins

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.” —Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

My thoughts…

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a historical fiction novel based upon the true harrowing experiences of Lale Sokolov in Auschwitz and Birkenau. I have read many books about the Holocaust and World War II, this was the first book I’ve read where a romance was within the concentration camp. Lale’s story broke my heart into a hundred pieces and it’s one love story that I will also remember.

Lale was a young Jewish man from Slovakia, that was forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He became the main tattooist and was responsible for tattooing identity numbers onto the wrists of the newly arrived. It’s was a job he hated, he felt like a traitor as he defiled the bodies of the innocent with the ink of the enemy. It is there that he falls in love at first sight with Gita, as he tattoos her numbers onto her wrist when she arrives at camp.

Tätowierer is a significant job in the camp that gives him privileges that many don't have. Lale is trusted with a certain amount of freedom to move within the camps. By trading jewels and money from those Jewish that didn’t survive, he was able to smuggle in extra food rations for those that needed it most, and medicine and aid whenever he could. Many prisoners owed him their survival, Lale regarded what he did it as solace for living apart from those that suffered the most.

With having freedom to move within Lale was able to seek out Gita. He would pay her guard with chocolate or sausage to get alone time with Gita. He made a promise to himself that he would survive this and after falling in love with Gita, he makes a promise to her of what their life will be like when they are free.

I listened to the audiobook version and loved it, especially the bonus, when it was over I had tears. I really can't recommend this stunning book highly enough, it is a heart wrenching unforgettable read.



Lale & Gita Sokolov

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a story of two ordinary people, living in an extraordinary time, deprived not only of their freedom but their dignity, their names, and their identities, and it is Lale’s account of what they needed to do to survive. Lale lived his life by the motto: ‘If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”
― Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz




6 comments:

  1. Most World War II stories I come across and read (for some reason I enjoy reading them) all focus on the horrors and atrocities, but never a love story, which I would love to read about. Despite how horrible Auschwitz is, the Jewish still had lives and feelings... there is a lot more than the horrors.

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    1. I think you would like this one. There are many horrors that Lale witness and the author did write about his feeling towards them and what he saw, but it didn't go into great detail like other books.

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  2. Oh I'm so happy to see that your review is already posted! I've seen other reviews saying that this is the first Holocaust book they read with romance! That definitely makes it extra emotional! I'm glad you enjoyed it this much. A must read for me, especially after your review :)

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    1. I'm so happy that you're going to read it Daniela, it was very emotional and very different from other books of the Holocaust.

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  3. Thank you so much for your beautiful review, Jovi. I listened to the audio also. So few books are on dignity and courage nowadays. I just bought the book :)

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    1. Thank you Estelle. I'm also going to purchase the book, it's such an amazing story that will stay with me.

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