Reviewsday: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The book world has been loving Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz; based on the incredible true story of Ludwig & Gita Sokolov – the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport of men from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tetovierer – the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever.

One of them is a young woman, Gita who steals his heart at first glance. His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.

This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.

What our team members have been saying:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a love story. A love story of insurmountable odds, set in a time and place where each day might be your last, and dreaming of the future frequently seemed futile.
But, for some, like our hero Lale, dreaming of a future with Gita is what keeps him determined to survive the horrors of Auschwitz.
We all know what went on in Auschwitz but this book doesn’t dwell on those facts, instead, it’s an uplifting tale of love and finding “the one”.
Beautiful. – Susan, QBD Eastland

A true story recounting the heart-wrenching tale of love between Lale and Gita, two Slovakian Jews who have a chance meeting in the most unlikely and devastating circumstances; the process of number tattooing at the entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp. Set during the most harrowing years of the Holocaust and finally ending on the shores of Australia, the reader is swept into a compelling and beautifully-written story, where love and loss reach into the depths of human experience. A wonderful, heart-breaking debut novel from Morris that will stay with you long after the last line. – Hannah, QBD Wollongong

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of those books that stays with you, coming up from your memory in the small, dark hours and poking the parts of your mind that remind you that human beings can be capable of incredible cruelty and of enduring love. It’s the story of Lale Sokolov, a 24-year-old Slovakian living the high life in the years before World War II. Lale has everything – the clothes, the charm and the women, – but it is all left behind when he is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Determined to survive, Lale takes a position as the Tetovierer, the man responsible for inking the numbers into the skin of new arrivals, and while doing so he meets Gita, a beautiful young Jewish woman Lale knows he is destined to be with.

The book is written simply, almost like a diary, which shields the reader from a certain amount of the horror Lale and Gita live through imprisoned in the work camp. Lale wheels and deals whenever he can, gaining extra food for Gita and his friends, but they are still all at the mercy of illness, malnutrition and the malevolence of the SS guards. The threat of the gas chambers and the giant crematoriums provide a dark background to the story. Based on a true story, the book is an accurate representation of life in the death camps under Hitler’s regime, and a timely reminder of what happens when power is corrupted. I came away from this book with a sense of outrage and desolation, despite the happy ending – it’s not a nice book, but it’s written with grace and compassion and I can’t recommend it highly enough. – Shannon, QBD Mandurah

This book is the incarnation of a single flower blooming in the dark. The ability for two souls to connect and find eternal love amidst the shattering reality of the cruellest acts against humanity will have your heart aching, not only for Lale and Gita but every holocaust victim and survivor. A truly passionate read that is escalated to the realm of brilliance because both fortunately, and unfortunately, it is all true. – Joanne, QBD Shellharbour

From one of the darkest parts of world history comes the touching love story of Lale and Gita, two Slovakian Jews, who fall in love in the most unlikely place, Auschwitz. He was the tattooist who used his position to help others and gave hope to so many when there was none. She was his love, his reason to survive through the most horrible times. This incredible story, left untold for so many years, is truly touching. I couldn’t put it down. – Julie, QBD Woodgrove

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