The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – 288 pages
ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia
Based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.
My Review: 4.5 stars
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The Tattooist Of Auschwitz is not just any Holocaust story, because it’s not really a story as much as it is a retelling of a life lived. Lale Sokolov was the actual tattooist of Auschwitz and he was a Jewish man. That blew me away as I imagined the tattooist to be a Nazi, not a Jewish prisoner. When author Heather Morris met Lale (pronounced Lahlay) her life changed forever as she was destined to write his story. What started as a screenplay turned into this wonderful book about courage, resilience and love.
In these wretched and horrific conditions of the concentration camp, you could consider Lale lucky to have been chosen as the tattooist. The special treatment he received, although minimal at best, and his knack for bartering made him a leader among the other prisoners. His spirit, courage, belief system and love for humankind is shown throughout the book. Ultimately, this book is a love story yet be warned, there are some very graphic and unpleasant scenes.
Adding more to this review would only spoil the reading experience and be a re-telling of the story. If you’re interested in Holocaust books, this one shouldn’t be missed.