The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is 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.

There have been many books about the Holocaust—and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive—not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also—almost unbelievably—a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale—a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer—it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story—their story—will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.


“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” is a truly harrowing and brutal true story, one of the darkest times in history , yet the reading of it was truly compelling and and as awful as it may seem to others I couldn’t put it down. It’s a book that will stay with you long after you close the final page, the mind is an awful place to be sometimes the images and sounds and sights flashing through me are awful but like a kaleidoscope you can’t help looking, even in the brutal of times people find beauty and love

Lale Sokolov is a well dressed, charming ladies’ man – he is also a Jew. On arrival at Auschwitz in 1942 he immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners who save his life when he takes ill. In the camp he is put to work in the privileged position of the ‘Tatowierer’ – the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners as they arrive in camp. One of them is a girl called Gita who captures his heart immediately. Given a reason to survive Lale uses his position for the greater good even through struggles and extreme suffering, with the hope of one day being with Gita forever, outside of the camp.
I really can’t recommend this stunning book highly enough, it a definite must read for 2018 and it gets a fantastic 5 stars for a heart wrenching unforgettable read. Its hard to admit that you have enjoyed a book when it is about such a harrowing time in history, If you have read the boy in the stripped pyjamas or watched Schindler’s list or anything regarding this subject then you should already know these books are difficult in their subject matter, but read them we must not just for titillation but the fact this awful event took place. I have been to Auschwitz and I have to say up front it changed me, walking through those gates I could feel the pain and anguish, this is not me been fanciful in my words but truth, to stand in the shadows of such a harrowing place made me count my blessings and thank god that I am alive and well. Heather Morris is a new author for me but this book caught my eye one for the subject matter and no I am not ghoulish or glorify in human suffering but at the same time I like reading about the past after all it is what defines us what makes us what molds us into the people we are good or bad. For me Heather and her beautifully written narrative of a horrific account of peoples lives so tragically and horrifically impacted by the events of the dreadful stain on our time the HOLOCAUST, she has written a piece of work beautifully put together so us as the reader can truly acknowledge the price and the pain of these poor people paid in such a horrific circumstances. The book is poignant, very sad and extremely moving at times but at the same time you are filled with courage and determination as these people’s ferocious and tenacious desire to survive against all odds. This account has sensitivity and has been put together with a lot of great thought and care. It’s a great read! I highly recommend it. Thank You Heather Morris for an astonishing read, one that will stay with me for a long time, I think books like this do tend to stay with you long after you have closed the final page, it makes you question what is important and what is not, when we whinge about how awful our lives are, we should be thanking god for the fact we still have one when so so many were denied it

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