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The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel
The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel
The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel
Ebook290 pages4 hours

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller

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.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherHarperCollins
Release dateSep 4, 2018
ISBN9780062797162
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Author

Heather Morris

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

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Reviews for The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Rating: 3.803181818181818 out of 5 stars
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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I love historical fiction involving WW2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz was based on a true story making it more riveting. I couldn't wait to read more each night as the story unfolded. I'd classify this one as popular fiction rather than literary fiction - perfectly enjoyable plot, but not very deep with style or language.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I grudgingly read this book, as it was a book club selection, because I only had intentions in my life to ever read one more book about the Holocaust: The Diary of Anne Frank. I've read several over the years and while I don't think I've read a bad one, I much prefer my senseless murders to be the result of crazed fictional serial killers. It's too hard for me to read books or watch movies about non-fictional accounts of war: it is always far to real and can't enjoy them regardless of how good they are.This book lived up to its tagline as "based on the powerful true story of love and survival". Lale, the Tatowierer of Auschwitz, is a young man with remarkable kindness, charisma, and just plan luck who is able to work his charms with both men and women in order to survive the horrors of Nazi internment. He lucks/charms his way into a job assisting the current tattooer, a position that comes with a more leeway and privileges than most prisoners receive. Lale, who has always had an eye for the ladies, notices Gita while tattooing her and it's love at first sight. The story follows their stolen moments over the years imprisoned and how their love and his assured promise for their future keeps them going from one day to the next. Lale, with his personality and his position, is able to make connections throughout the camp that allow him to provide small amounts of assistance and protection for Gita, other friends he has made, and himself.This is not to say that there are not accounts of horrendous acts of violence, senseless deaths, and just unbelievable inhuman treatment, but Lale's outlook while put in an impossible situation is something to aspire to achieve.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Wow - what a powerful story of survival. Based on interviews the author had with Lale Sokolov, it tells of a Jewish prisoner who survived Auschwitz and saw firsthand many of the atrocities that occurred as the tattooist of Auschwitz. As with many Holocaust stories, the brutality is horrific. But this book also recounts a tale of bravery, love, and an indomitable will to survive.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is a beautiful story of two people who met and fell in love under the worst possible circumstances and how that love brought them through. Lale was one of the kindest souls and would do anything that he could for anyone. Reading the authors notes you can see how even after all these years, Lale still loved Gita. In the epilogue just as much happened to the two of them as did thru the entire book. This is an excellent book!!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    The story behind The Tattooist of Auschwitz is interesting, as are most stories about life in concentration camps during WWII. Beyond that, there is nothing exceptional about this novel. The characters are not particularly developed and the prose is not noteworthy.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    4.5 stars
    ****
    I loved this book. I really enjoyed the way it was written. Although it told the story of prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau, at no point did I feel like I absolutely had to put it down to collect myself. I often wondered how these characters survived for so many years, and even so many pages, but as I came closer to the end it became very clear. This was a very smart couple. It was obvious early on that Lale knew what to do to keep himself safe. I often worried that he was trying to share too much, and it was clear that he wasn't completely immune from trouble. However, his kind actions were never forgotten and I loved that.

    I am really glad that this was based on a true story. It comforts me to know that intelligence and good deeds can get you somewhere in life. Although their situation was painfully different than hopefully anything that will happen in our lifetimes, it is still a lesson worth learning. I held on much tighter to the story of survival than the story of love. Maybe I found it easier to connect with somebody fighting for their life by whatever means necessary than to connect with somebody fighting for the love of their life. Either way, I found the story very easy to connect with, despite the difference in circumstance.

    I also want to thank Heather Morris for telling this story, and telling this story so well. I think it's so important that we keep this memory of concentration camps and hatred alive. I honestly had never taken the time to appreciate how many different groups were hauled into Auschwitz. I haven't really thought about the medical experiments since high school when I first learned how bad they really were. Even for those of us who know the story, it is all to easy to forget the story. We simply cannot let that happen.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Much better books about this subject both fiction and non-fiction. However, the book does demonstrate how beginning kind makes all the difference. Wonder what happened to many of the other people.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I read a lot of books in the genre and this one did not disappoint . . . . unfortunately, i didn't realize it was a true story (audio book) until the end of the book . . . . so as I was listening I found it to be a bit unrealistic and fragmented. Knowing it was a true story makes it believable (clearly), but I still think the writing could have been much better to really bring these important characters to life.