The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is based on the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, during World War II.
In April 1942, Lale was forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Due to his positivity and his ability to speak multiple languages, Lale quickly became a figure other captives gravitated towards and was put to work by his captors as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist).
As a Tätowierer, Lale was responsible for permanently marking his fellow prisoners for identification. One day in July 1942, Lale came across a young woman who he was to tattoo the number 34902 on her arm. They were captivated by each other’s gaze and soon fell in love. Lale then vowed to survive the camp and marry her.
Living in an environment where tomorrow is not guaranteed, Lale had to find ways to navigate through the cruelties and to find the strength and will to survive.
The story centers on Lale’s experience of the Holocaust and how he manages to survive. It is succinct and it doesn’t deviate from the main plot. Not too many characters are fully developed but it feels just right to focus on Lale and his perspective. I didn’t find it emotional due to how quickly characters seem to be introduced and taken away, however, it is very engaging and is a great read.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz not only shows the cruelties of concentration camps but also the power of togetherness. Lale was close to death multiple times and although his resourcefulness is crucial to his survival, it is the help of his friends as well as his enemies that keeps him alive.
Even though this story is not entirely true, I was able to learn a lot about the Holocaust and the perspective of someone living through it. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books with historical context.
Have you read this book? And is there any book you would recommend? I’ll love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover.