What I’m Reading: The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

I just finished listening to the audio book The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.  I saw the title of the book and immediately checked out the book.  I didn’t read the description…admittedly, I judged the book by the title.  So did I like the book….

YES.  I did.  The book wasn’t really long 288 pages…under 10 hours of listening.  Often books are 12 hours.

This book took place at Auschwitz during WWII.  The main character of the book, Lale, is a man who worked as a tattooist, tattooing on the numbers of the prisoners as they entered the concentration camp.  The story is a testament in the craftiness of a man who desperately wants to survive.  He was able to get extra food and even medicine smuggled in helping so many other to survive.

Here’s what Amazon had to say:
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars.  I’d likely agree.  I found myself finding ways to get time to listen.  That is always a good sign.

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2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

  1. Fran

    My mother worked as a bookkeeper for a Jewish family business here in Texas. The wife and husband were quite well-to do in Poland before World War II. When Hitler invaded Poland, they and their two children were separated and placed in separate concentration camps. After the war, the husband searched the lists of survivors and he was able to be reunited with his wife. Unfortunately, their children were killed in the camps. They immigrated to America and came to Texas, where the wife’s brother had established a business as an accountant. They opened their own dry goods business and my mother was their secretary/bookkeeper. They were able to have two children born here in the U.S. The wife told my mother about the horrors they had suffered in the camps. She and her fellow prisoners were starved, beaten, and she watched as many of the prisoners were killed before her eyes. She watched as the fellow prisoners were marched off to “take showers” and she never saw them again. By the grace of God, she and her husband survived. She had been tattooed before she was placed on a train and transported to the concentration camp. She bore the tattoo for the rest of her life. Their children born here went on to become a successful lawyer and a teacher. I will never forget the stories my mother told me about her.

  2. Jo Post author

    Fran. Thank you for sharing their story. It’s so important that this terrible time in history is never forgotten. Thanks for keeping it alive.

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