The Tattooist of Auschwitz by #HeatherMorris @RCArmitage #LaleSokolov #TheTattoistOfAuschwitz #HistoricalFiction #AudioBookReview

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Heart-breakingly beautiful stars

Synopsis

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.

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive – not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.

Review

Before starting this book i knew that it was going to be a tough one, I was not silly enough to think that it was going to be a fluffy romance, but ahh this book!!

I also did not know that it was based on a true story, i know obviously Auschwitz is true, but this is also the true story about Lale Sokolov and his “romance story” with the love of his life Gita.

The horror that one man can endure and feel has been put into this book and is sometimes overwhelming, and that is a good thing, it should never be forgotten what happened in these camps, it should never be forgotten what these people went through.

Lale was taken to Auschwitz in 1942 he was 26 years old.

He offered his services when the Nazi’s came to his town, he was told that one member had to go and help them and the rest of the family would be saved, Lale stepped up to the mark, his older brother had a wife and a child so he thought that it would be best for him to stay and look after her.

At that time he and the rest of the world were unaware of the horrors that he would see and endure, he just thought he was helping his family!

On arrival he was stripped of his name and given the number 32407 which was tattooed onto his arm, along with the thousands of other arrivals.

He was set to work, firstly lugging bricks, and then on the rooftops of the new buildings of the ever extending camp.

One day he got really sick with typhiod, a disease that was swarming through the camps, a man took care of him, his name was Pepan.

Pepan was the man that had Tattooed him on the day that he arrived at the camp, after that Pepan took him under his wing and used him as an apprentice, he taught him the trade and also how to keep his head down and his mouth shut!

One day Pepan disappeared, so Lale was crowned the new “Tetovierer” (Camp Tattooist) – Lale never saw Pepan again.

Because Lale was fluent in 5 or 6 languages he learned to hover around and collect information, and because of his new job he was given preferential treatment, he was given better lodgings and extra helpings at dinner, which Lale saved and gave out to his friends in Block 29 where he was first stationed.

While he was tattooing new prisnners one day he met Gita, he tattooed her arm with the number 34902, he never forgot that number, they tried to meet each other and sometimes managed fleeting glances and stolen kisses, much to the dismay of his German Officer in charge of him, his extra rations soon started to go to her.

He also managed to gain gems and money from dealings with some of the other prisoners, so he started exchanging these for extra food, this was like currency in the camps and Lale soon became the man to go to for anything.

There are, as you would think, a lot of harrowing stories inside this book, but also a lot of love.

My heart was in my mouth a few times, especially with Josef Mengele hovering around and telling him that he will be next!

The Authors Notes, and Following at the end of the book is beautiful and the Afterward from Lale and Gita’s son Gary made me tear up.

🎧🎧 – Narration by Richard Armitage was outstanding, his accents were wonderful and his voice was just perfect for this story.

Save a credit for this one guys, it is well worth it.

Prepare yourself,

Vicci

P.S – I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz a couple of years ago, and it was truly the most strange place I have ever been, it is still as grim as it is portrayed in books and pictures, and the government and workers there have done well to keep it as it should be, a museum that portrays the horrors that went on there.

They haven’t “Disneyfied” it, and they are very respectful.

You cannot just go and walk around chatting, you have a guide and you go around in small groups, you have earphones on and the guide talks into a microphone so you don’t hear anyone else talking.

Krakow itself is beautiful, and seeped in history and well worth a visit.

We should never forget!

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Learn more about Lale and his story here:- The Tattooist of Auschwitz – and his secret love

18 thoughts on “The Tattooist of Auschwitz by #HeatherMorris @RCArmitage #LaleSokolov #TheTattoistOfAuschwitz #HistoricalFiction #AudioBookReview

  1. Terrific review Vicci! I loved this book too. Lale’s story is one I will always remember reading. How interesting that you had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz. Wow! You’re right that we must never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lindsay,

      Yes i went a couple of years ago, those pictures are some of the ones i took but i have loads of others.

      It is a really sombre place to visit, and so so quiet, no birds fly over there, isn’t that strange?

      I have never been to somewhere with that much….i can’t think of the word, I spent the whole time crying or with a lump in my throat.

      There are rooms and rooms full of things like Shoes, Suitcases, Spectacles and even human hair, it’s just something that you can never imagine, and so, so sad.

      Like

  2. My father and his partner are on vacation in Poland right now. They’ll be going to Auschwitz and I’m oddly jealous. I would love to visit a place like that, to see it and feel it. I’m endlessly fascinated by WW2 because of the worst of humanity, but also the best, that it puts on display. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Krystin x

      Krakow is a beautiful place but it is sadly overshadowed by things that took place there, it is like walking around a huge museum when you go to the Jewish Quarter, i was really lucky in that we had a wonderful guide to take us around, he had family that had been killed there and he had so many stories to tell about the city, not just the camp.

      Tell them to visit the Salt Mines if they haven’t already, it is amazing there.

      Like

  3. Beautiful review Vicci.Thanks for sharing the pictures,I can’t imagine what its like to visit the museum.I’ve read a number of books about Auschwitz but I imagine the visit is ten times more difficult.

    I read this book a while ago and the story has since stayed with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Diana,

      Yes it is a very humbling experience, and so many things is didn’t know, like Auschwitz is nowhere near the camp itself, that is like 2 or 3 miles down the road, and it is HUGE, as far as you can see there are hundreds of those shed type things.

      We went in March and it was freezing then, and we had coats and jumpers on, i can only imagine how cold it was there in the snow with just a pair of pyjamas on!

      Like

  4. I know with this one I will for sure be hugging the tissue box real close. I like to read true stories about love, determination… I know horrible tragic times existed and still exist…. not that I like it much. 😦 I do so look forward to reading their story. I just want to thank the author for writing this book. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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