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.
Cee has invited me to join in even though I don’t know the name of many flowers. I do love to photograph them though, and this sunflower really spoke to me on my walk a couple of days ago.
Sadly, as I passed it by this evening, the petals are all gone and the stalk is bending. Good thing I memorialized it when I did, so I had something to paint:
Cee’s Flower of the Day – October 5, 2018. Hers is a beautiful Dahlia.
Positive is my granddaughter’s signature thumbs up!
Or the enthusiastic greeting of a beloved pup:
A visit from a favourite bird, can set my day up right:
As can the sudden appearance of a butterfly so bright:
(Thank you to Tourmaline for this week’s challenge: positive. All photos are from my personal collection.)
At 10, I ruled the world –
hard peddling up steep roads
and letting go on the other side
thrilling to speed and risk.
At 20, I felt the pressure
to define my life, marry,
and be somebody – driven
without much compassion
At 30, I relaxed a bit,
celebrated having birthed
three children, confident
in my role and responsibility.
At 40, alone and toppled
by unexpected divorce,
I found new focus in recovery
in redefining goals, dreams
At 50, facing the brutality
of chronic illness, I vowed
not to lose purpose, willed
myself to re-engage, create
At 60, the wisdom of a gentler
pace, the joy of simple pleasure,
not much different from 10,
minus the hills and thrills.
(This past year has brought so many unexpected gifts that I feel my gratitude is inadequate. Travel, the introduction of photography and art to my repertoire, and finding a purpose through written word. What I once thought as an ending (ME/CFS) has opened many new doors. Life never fails to delight.)
(My weekly challenge is celebration.)
By the time you read this, my celebration will have begun. The family and I will have met for a casual dinner at a local restaurant, and I’ll be glowing from pride to think that two generations all started with me. Miraculous, isn’t it?
Today, we are headed up north, where I will celebrate my actual birthday in the company of dear friends. A peaceful retreat is how I wish to mark the day.
This week, I invite you to reflect on celebration. How do you celebrate? How often? What do you celebrate? When was the last time you felt celebrated?
Share a story, describe your ideal, or take a moment to celebrate some aspect of life – no rules, just an open invitation.
Looking forward to reading your posts!