Book Review- The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Sunday, 28 January 2018
Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Published: 11th January 2018
Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction, Historical

Rating: 5/5

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. -Goodreads

I received this novel from Net Galley and Bonnier Zaffre Publishing in return for an honest review.
This novel tells the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, 2 Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz.
This is an incredible novel which tells a beautiful story of the strength of love to survive against all odds, and the lengths that people will go to survive against the horrors of the Holocaust.
The courage that both Lale and Gita show during this novel is astounding, and the courage and strength that Lale showed in retelling and thus reliving this story after Gita's death in order that this novel could be written is so inspiring to read about.
This is an extremely harrowing topic for a novel, but the novel has moments of such light and beauty that it never becomes overwhelming, and the underlying current of the love between Lale and Gita is something beautiful to be privy to.   
I actually learnt quite a lot about the Holocaust from this novel. It covers a lot of aspects of the concentration camps that I don't think are really covered in general discussions about it, and it definitely gave me a greater insight. 
I would definitely recommend this novel to everyone, I would confidently label it a "must read". It is compelling and unputdownable, and so engaging. A special shout-out must be given to the author who has done a brilliant job of writing/telling Lale's story. Her compassionate and sensitive writing makes this narrative emotive and thought provoking, and ultimately adds to the overall power of the novel.
I enjoyed the way this novel made me think. It questions exactly what a human will do to survive a place like Auschwitz? And how does one deal with the guilt of being a survivor?

Happy reading everyone!!


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