• sujata chaudhury

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a novel written by Heather Morris. It was first published in 2018 by Zaffre. The book is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Holocaust survivor. Heather Morris was appointed by Lale Sokolov to write down his recollection of Auschwitz and its horrors.


Lale Sokolov went to Auschwitz-Birkennue in 1942 which later became the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners and marking the captive's arms with ink which became one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale was the one to tattoo a young girl named Gita. Lale knew nothing about Gita but her marked number, but he fell in love with her the moment he saw her. In a place where one needed no reason to get killed or die out of hunger, he made a nearly impossible promise to himself and to Gita that he and Gita will get out of Auschwitz alive and get married.


Though this book closely follows the story of Lale, it is successful in reflecting the stories of thousands of innocent people caged in Nazi Germany, stories of their struggles and terrors. The plot of the book is strong and grips the readers' attention from the very first chapter. All the hardships Lale and his fellow prisoners had to go through, and the decisions one had to take to survive in that brutal condition indeed make this book a very emotional read. Lale as a character is very admirable. His determination to save the ones he loves though himself not being in a favorable place is inspiring. Lale is what we can call a real-life hero. The one thing that moved me more than anything in the book is the compassion people can show even in the face of adversity. There are instances in the books where someone gives his food to another person though he himself is starving because the other person needs it more. This book can be thought of as a coin of humanity. Where on one side one is killing the other because he can while on the other side, one person is willing to sacrifice himself to save the other. I enjoyed reading this heart-wrenching book a lot.


For me, the only thing that could have been better in this book is its writing. For the most part of the book, Morris has beautifully transcribed the story of The Tattooist of Auschwitz to her readers but towards the ending, I felt the writing to be rushed. A lot of things happened in very limited words and as a result of which the story started lacking emotions. As a reader, I would not have any problem reading more about Lale and his journey. I wanted to cherish the last few pages of this wonderful book which got hindered by the lackluster writing towards the end.


Once I started this book I couldn't stop reading it. It is a gripping tale of a man faced with the worst kind of torment history has witnessed and shows us what humans are capable of. This book is a must-read book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”

― Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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