I had bought The Tattooist of Auschwitz after hearing the author, Heather Morris, on the ABC Conversations podcast. I just completed it, and it has left me quite emotional. It is yet another close look at a devastating event in our history. This book makes it that much closer and more real, because it is not really a work of fiction. It is based on true events, and the oral history of the tattooist himself told to Heather before he died.
It is also the story of the strongest bond of love that saw this couple through a huge ordeal – it bonded them closer and helped them to survive … and then apparently love and cherish every minute of their life together afterwards.
Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tetovierer “the tattooist” to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.
His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.
This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz- Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.