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.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.
I decided to start this book after finishing The Nightingale in order to follow a theme. I thought that would be a good idea. It wasn’t. It took me months to finish this one because I couldn’t read too much of it at one time. Going right from Nightingale to Tattooist was really heavy, and I needed breaks.
The amount of time that it took me to finish this book had nothing to do with the writing, though. This book will hook you, pull you in, and make you want to see how it ends.
It’s quite a different way to take in a story about the holocaust. Lale has direct contact with many Nazi soldiers. That gives it an interesting spin. He works for them while also working directly against them.
I know this book is based on a true story, but I didn’t realize how much until I read the epilogue. It made everything in the book that much more interesting.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a good book. It’s not the best writing I’ve ever taken in, but I also can’t exactly put my finger on why. It didn’t turn me off from the book it was just different.
I would recommend it to anyone interested in historical novels – either fiction or non.
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