Our librarians have voted The Tattooist of Auschwitz as their top read from our February issue! Read our 4.5 star review of the incredible true story of the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved below.
One of the most enduring symbols of the dehumanisation of Jews during the Holocaust is the tattooed identity number that all concentration camp occupants were forcibly given.
In her novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Australia-based author Heather Morris draws on years of interviews with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov to create a harrowing yet ultimately hopeful tale of survival and enduring love.
Not long after debonair charmer Lale arrives at Auschwitz from Slovakia in 1942, he is given the privileged role of tattooist – a position that brings him into contact with every new prisoner and keeps him from the ovens that consume so many others.
Although determined not to gaze upon the faces of those he tattooed, Lale looks up from his work one day and his eyes meet those of a young woman with whom he immediately falls in love.
As the narrative unfolds, Lale risks his life and compromises his principles every day to ensure his own survival and that of the young woman, Gita. He is spurred by the promise that when the war is over they will marry and be able to make love whenever they want.
There’s a deceptive and beautiful simplicity to Morris’s storytelling that ensures the horrific reality of life at Auschwitz cannot defeat true love or conquer the human spirit.
Reviewed by Maureen Eppen
And congratulations to Lawley from Cockburn Libraries in WA who has won two recent releases for participating in the survey!