The Tattooist of Auschwitz
by Heather Morris
Genres: Historical Fiction
“He must transfer the five digits onto the girl who holds it. There is already a number there but it is faded.
He pushes the needle into her left arm, making a 3, trying to be gentle.
But the needle hasn’t gone deep enough and he has to trace the number again.
She doesn’t flinch at the pain Lale knows he’s inflicting. They’ve been warned – say nothing, do nothing.
He wipes away the blood and rubs green ink into the wound. “
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.
I have been eager to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz since before it was released here in Australia. The Holocaust is such a dark time in human history and I feel that by listening/reading to the stories of the victims, that I am somehow paying my respects.
The incredible story of Lale and Gita’s survival over 3 years spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau, is absolutely mind blowing and incomprehensible.
Lale’s heroic, and sometimes ignorant, approach to survival ensured that many of his fellow Jews were able to fight of starvation and to work together to defy all odds and walk out of the concentration camp, when many, many people were not so fortunate.
From the recollection of the gas chambers, through to the shootings due to pure boredom by the SS guards, Lale recalls it all in this raw story, based on true events.
If you read one book this year, make it this one. It will send chills down your spine and make you appreciate how fortunate you are to not be exposed to such horrors.
Keep the tissues handy!