The Tattooist of Auschwitz
This is more than a 5 star read, it is an epic story based on the life of a man named Lale Sokolov. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time, and one that if you haven’t yet read, I really would urge you to do so.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz sat on my TBR for a long time. I kept seeing brilliant review after brilliant review and yet finding myself unable to pick it up. I decided to start it on Sunday morning and finished it that evening.
Lale Sokolov was a young Slovakian Jew who volunteered to go Aushwitz to save his older brother’s life. His brother was a married man with children and Lale would not hear of him going.
After a horrendous journey, Lale arrives at Auschwitz and promises himself that he will survive. Early on we see that he is a very intelligent man and has great compassion. It was in fact because of his ability to speak Slovakian, German, Russian, French, Hungarian and some Polish he is made the Tattooist. He was responsible for scratching numbers into the frightened people who arrive in horrifying numbers at Auschwitz.
His story is incredible and while there have been many books that have been written about the Holocaust this one truly does stand out. Lale was a man that showed great courage and his spirit was just incredible. One of the things that really struck me about this book, is that while it describes some of the most terrible events in our history, what shines through is hope. When Lale meets a terrified young women waiting in his line to be tattooed, he falls in love. Despite being held captive in a most brutal and hateful environment their love blossoms.
Lale and Gita’s story is like none I have ever heard before. Let’s be clear, they lived and survived through an unimaginable hell. I read this book in a day absolutely unable to tear myself away. To me Lale, was a true hero; a humanitarian who in the very worst of circumstances teaches us the importance of kindness and courage.
Since finishing the book, I have been reading online about how Heather Morris came to write this book. She met Lale shortly after Gita died when she was told he may have a story that would interest her. They became friends and she was able to bring this remarkable story to us all. She has written it beautifully, at times it is of course unbearably sad and horribly bleak but overall I found it to be one of the most amazing love stories I have ever read.