TITLE: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
AUTHOR: Heather Morris
GENRES: Historical Fiction
PUBLISHED: January 11th 2018
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story behind one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust – the blue numbers tattooed on prisoners’ arms. When Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, was given the job of “Tätowierer” in that terrible place – forced literally to scratch numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink – he 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 countless books about the Holocaust, but none quite like this. Lale Sokolov understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners and he was determined not just to survive, but to live his life to the full. Terrible though his story i, it is also one of hope and of courage. And, incredibly, it is a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. His and Gita’s story, fact-checked against available documentary evidence, endorsed by the son they never thought they would have and untold for over seventy years, will make you weep, but it will also uplift you.
For here, in the very worst of circumstances, is the very best of humanity.
What I Think
So this book is based on the story of Lale Sokolov. How he was sent to Auschwitz, became the tattooist there, met a girl, made friends and got away.
I’m not even sure if I want to write about this at all. Because I’ve read a lot of books about the holocaust, fiction and non-fiction, and they all have been very heavy reads and heartbreaking and something that makes me mad about what kind of monsters we humans are!
But this books was nothing like those I’ve read before. This didn’t strike me as a heartbreaking story. It was closer to a normal daily routine than a prisoner at Birkenau. Please do not attack me for saying this! It was horrible what happened during the holocaust and I hope nothing like that ever happens again.
But as I was reading Lale’s story, yes I know this is labeled as fiction, I felt that he had it easy in there. Of course there was the constant threat of being shot every second a day but anyway. After he became the tattooist, he seemed to become some kind of honor prisoner. His friend Leon was taken for Mengele while he stayed untouched because he was the tattooist. it just seems absurd that one man was able to smuggle food, medicine etc unnoticed until someone actually ratted him out. And even after that he was able to continue!
Well maybe this was just embellishing story of Lale and Gita’s experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and their escape from their. I don’t know. But for me it feels somehow too unbelievable. Though don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that they were able to escape and all that.