The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

Great story. Gives you insight into another part of WWII that isn't talked about as much. You're grabbed from the get go and become so invested in their story.
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A unique look at the concentration camp way of life from the viewpoint of the serial number/ID tatooist. Falling in love and living in hope and doing what he could to help hundreds of people and families during the war, he was a hero that I won't easily forget.
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This book made me feel like I knew the two lovers.  I liked them.  I rooted for them.  I wanted them to survive, and I wanted them to thrive after the war.  It was a big success, because I felt everything I should fee.
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This story is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau Tattoist, Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, and how he not only survived but found love in the midst of atrocities. In April 1942, Lale, a Slovakian Jew, was transported to Auschwitz. When the guards discover that he is fluent in several languages, they put him to work permanently marking his fellow prisoners, as the camp Tätowierer (Tattoist). He was imprisoned for over two and a half years, during which he experienced and viewed horrific atrocities, as well as acts of bravery and compassion. He witnessed the best and worst of humanity. At the risk of his own life, Lale used his position to obtain jewels and money confiscated from murdered Jews to trade for food that helped keep his fellow prisoners alive. One day, he meets a terrified young woman when he has to tattoo the number 32407 onto her arm and vows to make sure they both survive and to marry her when they get out.

This was such a powerful, heartbreaking story. It tattooed itself onto my heart and I’ll never be the same having read it. I’ve read concentration camp stories and they’re all touching and unique but this one truly lets you see things through Lale’s eyes. Heather Morris did such an amazing job with every aspect and it couldn’t have been easy to put herself in Lale’s shoes. Lale’s story exudes compassion, corage, and empathy.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
I thought that this was a well written, heartbreaking and unforgettable story of survival.
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INCREADIBLE! A heartbreaking story based on true events, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a very good historical fiction. The will to survive another day was truly inspiring, as well as the clever negotiations with unexpected people, other prisoners and SS guards, which ultimately changed the course of his life. I highly recommend this book. Thank you NetGalley for the e-reader copy, all opinions are my own.
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What a marvellous, harrowing, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting story, all based on actual facts. This was a great read, I loved it.
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What a story.
I think my favourite part was the matter of fact way in which it was told and somehow this made the horrors of the camps more explicit and the quiet dignity of the tattooist Lale more moving.
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3.5/5 If you know me, then you know one of my two favorite settings is during the two World Wars. It feels wrong to say this but it usually makes for such incredible stories. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of those.

The main problem that I encountered with this book was the way it was written. It didn't really help me get attached to the characters. They felt flat. We could've known so much more about them. We could've gone so much deeper in the story. But, we didn't. So, yeah! The writing didn’t captivate me as much. 

The fact that this was based on a real story... What atrocities! I do not think that this is the best Holocaust book out there but still, it is worth a read!
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This book was so sad but also so hopeful to me. That love exists in the face of unconscionable evil. That humanity is still good and kind. That courage isn’t the absence of fear but the determination to not let that fear control you. A beautifully written novel  and a true love story
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Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 

Brief Summary: Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is imprisoned at Auschwitz-Berkenau Concentration Camps and becomes the camp tattooist. During his time at the camp he meets and falls in love with another prisoner Gita. This is their based on a true story of love and survival. 

Highlights: It is remarkable that this story is real and that Lale survived all that he did. I loved the author’s notes at the end and his son’s contributions. The love story is beautiful. I also loved hearing what happened to all the characters after the story ended. 

What makes this book unique?: There are many stories of survival of concentration camps during the Holocaust. Lale’s story is unique in that he used his position of power for good to help his fellow prisoners.  

Explanation of Rating: 4/5 This is a must read for WWII enthusiasts and history lovers. I won’t forget this tale anytime soon. 

Favorite Quotes: When you spend three years not knowing if you will be dead in five minutes you don’t get upset about trivial things. 

Thank you to Net Galley and Bonnier Publishing Australia for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
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Incredible! This was my first thought when I completed reading this book.  There are also a few other adjectives to go with it:  heartbreaking, painful and finally, hopeful.  This is a true story of Lale and Gita.   They meet in Auschwitz.  Lale is Jewish and has become the tattooist for the camp.  He falls in love with Gita.  But, there are several twists to their story, most of which are painful to read.  And they should be.  These two young people meet under the most desperate circumstances.  They have more against them than most people ever have before.  Their story is painful to read, but I could not put it down.  I have recommended it to friends and family.  It's an important book to read.

Thank you to Bonnier Publishing Australia and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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This book is such an amazingly sad and inspirational story all at the same time. I kept having to put the book down and walk away while I was reading, because some of it is just hard to read because it really happened. These poor people were treated like garbage. Yet in the middle of all the hate, Lale found Girta and never lost sight of what mattered. It's truly a beautiful love story. I would recommend it to anyone. Heather Morris did a wonderful job telling their story.
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I haven't read a WWII book quite like this. What an incredible story of hope and survival. Lale's story is such a unique perspective into life at Auschwitz, and it's truly an emotional ride as you flip from the horrors of Auschwitz to Lale and Gita's love for each other. I couldn't stop reading. The only reason it's not five stars for me is the writing is awkward at times, maybe because it was originally written as a screenplay. Overall, it was a beautiful and heartbreaking read.
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A totally compelling and moving book, so wonderfully written, This is one of the subject I'm always afraid to read as this really hits me hard every time. So I was a bit tentative to start this book but it was wonderful that I did. But ultimately this book is so hard to review because it's a book that makes your heart ache and brings tears to your eyes but all I know is it deserves far more than 5 stars ......
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I just finished this book last night and wow!! I could not put it down.  Ms. Morris transported me right into Auschwitz.  I could NOT put this book down. I have read many, many books centered around and about the Holocaust and this is one of my new favorites. If you enjoyed The Nightingale, The Baker's Secret, The Kommandant's Girl then you will enjoy this. Great book!!  Lale’s and Gita's personal accounts of how they survived is amazing and the love between him and Gita are a demonstration of the power of true love. What a story and brilliantly told. Well done Heather Morris.
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I have read a lot of WWII fiction. Both based on true story and purely fictional. In all the books I've read, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is, by far, the most harrowing, beautiful, desperate and lovely true story of them all. Unlike most WWII historical books, this one starts at Auschwitz, instead of ending there. The build-up to the war is a paragraph and instead the core story here is surviving and enduring a concentration camp. Over four years time we learn the story of Lale and those he encounters. Lale is a Slovakian Jew who finds his 'place' in the camp as the tattooist. This is a story that is so unbelievable; that were it not right from one man's truth it might be deemed impossible.

The Numbers
The significance of being demoted to a number cannot be understated here. A person is only really a person with a name, identity and story. Reducing a human to a number is just incorrigible, in so many ways. The real-life Lale, who told his story to author Heather Morris over three years time, was terrified that he would be seen as a Nazi sympathizer. Someone who abet the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Let me assure you, after reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz I don't think anyone could possibly think, for even a moment, that Lale was a part of the problem. His work, to scar humans with a number, was merely a means to an end, a way to stay alive. Bearing his own number all his life, he knew what it was like to be a number at many different moments and so I do not believe that it's possible for him to be considered in any way allied or aligned with the activities at either camp he was involved with. .

The Hope Amongst the Horror
I personally cannot possibly imagine keeping hope in conditions such as those in Nazi concentration camps. Be they in Poland, Germany or elsewhere. These were places of utter and complete desolation. Where people were made to move rocks all day long, only to move them back to the same spot the following day. No 'work' was 'fruitful' in these camps; except that doing some work kept you alive for another day of starvation and torture. 
What is truly special about Lale and Gita's story is that somehow, someway they found slivers of hope. A desire, love and drive to stay alive. It takes truly resilient people to keep even a thread of hope when faced with starvation, torture, rape and death every moment of everyday. However, it is clear in Lale's story that there was some luck involved too. This is perhaps one of the most interesting things about this true story. How do you survive four years in Auschwitz and live to tell the story years later? A lot of strength of body and mind; and some four-leaf clover luck. 

All Range of Emotions
I think I went through all of the possible emotions that exist in the mere hours it took me to devour Morris' novel. From utter hatred to all-encompassing love, despair to hope, fierce anger to desperate grief; there is not a single moment in this book that you won't feel something. Even if it's a moment of utter and complete nothing. Something Morris' captures in a way most other writers cannot is the way it may feel to feel nothing. You might think, why on earth would you want this or experience this? In extreme situations humans often shut-down to feel nothing. It's a difficult thing to understand if you have never experienced it; but something that is absolutely truthful in horrifying conditions like those lived by the captives in camps and Morris' captures all of these feelings good, bad and otherwise. 

No words I could ever write will do justice to the importance or incredibility of this novel. It's such an insane story that you couldn't make it up. Honest. Lale's decision, in the last years of his life, to tell this story is probably his biggest contribution to the world; and this is a man who certainly saved dozens (if not hundreds) of people's lives at any given time through his compassion, generosity and willingness to do what he could when he could. This is the key reason, in my mind, why you could never say those like Lale are at fault for working inside the unreasonable and terrifying parameters given to them by the SS soldiers at these camps. 
Most important is that Lale's story can now be told to others and provide hope in bleak times. While not everyone is as lucky as Gita and Lale were; it's nice to know that out of the most horrifying time in recent history a love and devotion could blossom. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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A totally compelling and moving book, so wonderfully written hard to review a book that makes your heart ache and brings tears to your eyes but all I know is it deserves far more than 5 stars ......
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This life-changing one of a kind book gives a very human voice to the unimaginable brutalities that happened at Auschwitz and left me with a physical ache in my heart.  Beautifully written with a gorgeous flow, but brutally difficult to read in places.  It's not often I have to stop because I can't see the page for tears but it happened several times with this book.

This book should be on the curriculum as it really brings to life what happened on a day to day basis in that most barbaric of places.  We all know the statistics but do we really understand it all until we read this book.

A must read for everyone.

Full blog post at link below
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I had to mentally prepare myself for this book, when you know the event you are going to read about especially this event you have to prepare.  
I was prepared to cry, and I did, I wasn't prepared for hope and joy.  Reading Lale story and how he survived was something I wasn't prepared for.  How he had to remain almost unemotional yet he was so full of emotion just to survive.
How he compartmentalized and and try to stay positive about what is going  was just remarkable.  While most were giving up, Lale tried to help other's also stay positive and almost thankful to be there and alive.  To find love in a time like this, in a place like Auschwitz one would think would be impossible.  Who could think of  love in a place full of death and other horrible things going on.  

I love that the author told the story mostly from Lale's perspective, since he is the story teller, but she also told a little bit of Gita's side as well.  Not only is there story of what happened to them in the camp remarkable but so is how they finally found each other when that too seemed almost impossible.

I never thought I would read a love story set in a concentration camp, but I am very happy that I did read this story.
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