The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Published: January 11 2018
- Publisher: Zaffre (11 Jan. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1785763644
- ISBN-13: 978-1785763649
1942, Lale Sokolov arrives in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Originally working as a manual labourer, building more huts, he is given the job of tattooing the prisoners as they arrive at the camp.
One day, a young girl catches his eye, looking frightened and shaken he tries to calm her, and for Lale it is love at first sight. And so the story of Lale and Gita begins, Lale is determined to survive Auschwitz so he and Gita can have a life together after the war. His job as the tattooist has some privileges that he uses to help Gita and his friends, in the face of adversity Lale shows great humanity, and so begins the love story of Late and Gita.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a book I have heard a lot about recently, even though it isn’t published until January 11. After reading it I understand why it is being so highly praised.
The story of Lale and Gita is all the more remarkable in that it is a true story. Author Heather Morris spent three years with Lale Solokov, listening and documenting his and Gita’s story. Originally, Heather wrote this as a screen play before deciding to turn it into her debut novel.
Today we are all aware of the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and reading about it from Lale’s perspective of being there really brings the reality and horrors of Auschwitz to life. Late is a very likeable character, and even in the harsh living conditions, with constant fear of death, his generosity and kindness to other prisoners really shines through. His position as a tattooist enables him to see and do things other prisoners can’t, and the horrors he sees are deplorable, he sees things no man should ever have to see. But through out all this he keeps his positivity and belief that he will survive this, and have a life with Gita after the war.
Gita is very young when she enters the camp, and her trust and belief in Lale is what I feel gets her though. Again, she has a kind and caring nature, a commamarederie with her fellow workers and girls who share her hut. Her bravery is also very apparent towards the end. I can’t even imagine what she went through, and I am glad that no one will ever have to face what she, Lale and others did at Auschwitz.
The only thing lacking for me in this book was some emotion and feeling in parts. As I mentioned it was originally written as a screen play rather than a novel and maybe that is why; actors on screen can convey their feelings and emotion.
At the end of the book, Heather Morris includes several photographs of Lale and Gita through the years. I found this very touching, and emotional, to see the people who went through this, it gives the story a more personal touch.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a remarkable, if at times disturbing read. It is a story of courage, bravery, horror, love, belief, death, survival but most of all hope and the affirmation the human character and the will to survive. I think that this will be one of the most talked about books of 2018, and for good reason. A slice of history that should never be forgotten and never repeated; a beautiful book of an awful experience.