The atrocities of Auschwitz are no secret, and yet, every surviving story reveals another angle, not only of suffering and inhumanity, but also of the incredible endurance of the human spirit and kindness in the darkest of moments.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is about a young man, Jewish, who volunteers for work duty and finds himself in an unimaginable situation. He makes a pact with himself to survive at all costs, and it is this determination, and his ability to speak many languages that lands him the horrific role of tattooist – marking numbers on the throngs of arrivals.
Saving himself is not Lale’s only ambition. Although his position sets him apart from the other prisoners, he is not without compassion, and offers help when possible. He also falls in love.
Heather Morris was introduced to Lale Sokolov in 2003 as someone who might have an interesting story to tell. All I can say is thank goodness for that introduction.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is written in short, to the point, vignettes, making it a quick and easy read. Once I started, I could not stop. I had to know what happened to Lale and the love of his life, Gita. By the end of the book, I was sobbing.
I would recommend this book for book clubs, or even as an alternate text in high schools.