The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by Heather MorrisThe Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel

byHeather Morris

Paperback | September 4, 2018

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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.

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand and now lives 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 U.S. In 2003 Heather rmet Lale Sokolov and they formed a strong bond with each other...
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Title:The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.72 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.72 inPublished:September 4, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062877003

ISBN - 13:9780062877000

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't put it down! I bought this 4 days ago and I could not put it down!! It is such a captivating story, it reminds you that in any dark places there is light. I can't wait to read her book about Cilka. Which I will go preorder right this minute. I recommend this book to everyone that is fascinated about WW2.
Date published: 2019-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't put it down! I bought this 4 days ago and I could not put it down!! It is such a captivating story, it reminds you that in any dark places there is light. I can't wait to read her book about Cilka. Which I will go preorder right this minute. I recommend this book to everyone that is fascinated about WW2.
Date published: 2019-09-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Haunting This book was interesting, its based on true events and that just makes it very, very sad. I hate to use the word "lucky" but young Lale and his girl Gita were to survive all that went on in the camp and to make a life for themselves together after. The human spirit is amazing.
Date published: 2019-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Beautiful I very much agree with a previous review. "Horrifically Beautiful." That's exactly what this was. Heartbreaking, Complex, Beautiful. Phenomenally written. Couldn't put it down. It teaches you two main things. The horror of the Holocaust, and the resilience of people. I've never read about the Holocaust before, but because of Heather Morris, I'm officially obsessed.
Date published: 2019-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Horrifically Beautiful I bought this book two days ago and just finished. I am stunned with the beauty of this strong couple who endures horrific circumstances and yet loves so deeply. I agree with other reviews that recommend this book be in high schools for teaching.
Date published: 2019-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from READ IT!! A good novel, and a quick read. Based on the life of a man who was interned at Auschwitz. The story is based on his Lyle Sokolov's account of survival. A unique lesson in humanity.
Date published: 2019-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking; A Must Read Incredible story. This book should be in High School classrooms to supplement learning. Very powerful.
Date published: 2019-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking A Must Read Incredible story. This book should be in High School classrooms to supplement learning. Very powerful.
Date published: 2019-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Loved it This is one of my favorite ww2 books. Love the love story and the characters. i couldnt put it down
Date published: 2019-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I couldn’t put it down! It held my attention from the very beginning and had me emotionally invested in the characters. This is a heart warming and gut wrenching tale of Lale, Gita and the others that have been a part of their lives.
Date published: 2019-08-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good story, bad writer This book was recommended to me by a friend, but he cautioned me to not buy into the hype that I had heard about it previously. I asked why, then corrected myself, and asked that he let me figure it out on my own. The story is about a Slovakian Jew, Lale Sokolov, who is interned at Auschwitz during the Nazi regime of the 1940s. In a desperate effort to survive, Lale becomes the man responsible for tattooing all the incoming Jews, Gypsies, Russians and criminals brought to the camp. It affords him some minor improvements to his life there, but nothing is as dear to him as his fellow prisoner, Gita. Lale, witnesses and becomes part of some despicable acts, but does it all the while hoping it will save he and Gita long enough to see the war's end. Now, if you want to know why I, like my friend, wasn't blown away, then keep reading. If you would rather not know, stop now. While the story was interesting, and Lale's and Gita's love stirring, this isn't as hopeful a piece as "Schindler's List", nor is it as visceral or as heart wrenching as Weisel's "Night". I blame the writer rather than the story. There was very little detail offered, and the plot hurtles along too fast; so fast that you don't get a feel for the characters (except Lale), the setting or the dire situations Lale finds himself in throughout the book. I don't want to sound like a jerk who isn't saddened by how the Nazis treated the Jews during this horrible period of history, but this just felt like the author wrote down only the main points of Lale's recollections (Sokolov was a real person by the way) and then presented them in novel form. I think there is so much more to the story of the Sokolov family, that I felt ripped off a bit.
Date published: 2019-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Story I couldn't put this book down, especially as it is based on true events. It is the first book I've read in a long time that really held my interest and it had fact about the camps that I didn't know, never learned in history.
Date published: 2019-07-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not my type of book Ill admit this isnt my type of book to begin with. However I felt it was not written well and i really had to force myself to keep reading
Date published: 2019-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good I enjoyed this book! Quick read but very interesting.
Date published: 2019-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A surprisingly hopeful story from a very dark period of history When I bought this book I was mentally preparing myself for it to be very heavy and take a long time to process, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to read it. While it is horrifying to think of how people were treated in the end this book gave me hope, it is beautifully written and I completely adored the 2 main characters and their relationship.
Date published: 2019-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Terrifying Yet Beautiful Story This story is an incredible reflection of humanity, showcasing how even in the darkest times, one can choose to be empathetic, kind and strong. I loved how the characters were so multi-faceted and demonstrated all the different faces of humanity. A great reminder of how important it is to be present with ourselves and with our loved ones. #plumreview
Date published: 2019-07-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from can't recommend this book Such a complex subject and such a poorly written book. Claiming to be %95 accurate... no, it's not. Antibiotics in Auschwitz... Got me really wonder if the author had done any kind of research before submitting the story to print.
Date published: 2019-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you don't read it you are a fool This novel was so captivating and heat breaking. To read what occurred in the concentration camps is one thing but to read from the perspective of an individual who lived it (while fictional) has the ability to leave to you heartbroken and disgusted with mankind. I fell in love with the two main characters that the novel was based off of and I wish I had had the opportunity to meet their beautiful souls as they seem to be two of the strongest individuals in the world. This book is worth the read and has wormed its way into my heart for all time.
Date published: 2019-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome This was an amazing book. So sad to read what these people went through. Very quick read if thats what you like.
Date published: 2019-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply written and simply beautiful The story is seeping in sadness and yet optimism. Told simply, the story is a fast read through a very dark chapter of history.
Date published: 2019-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Omg definitely a Must read I just can’t put it down , the way it’s written makes you feel like your in the store and gives you a feeling for these people
Date published: 2019-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart Wrenching and Beautiful “ ‘Well done,’ he whispers as he sets about tattooing the remaining four digits – 4 9 0 2. When he has finished, he holds her arm for a moment longer than necessary, looking again into her eyes. He forces a small smile. She returns a smaller one. Her eyes, however, dance before him. As he looks into them, his heart seems simultaneously to stop and to begin beating for the first time, pounding, almost threatening to burst out of his chest." “ I tattooed her number on her left hand, and she tattooed her number in my heart”- Lale Sokolov I have read my fair share of Holocaust stories, but this surmounts the ones I can recall. It is a tale of hope, love, and faith in a time where those ideals cease to exist. Lale refuses to allow his faith and his determination to waver as he fights for his survival. He learns early on that the means to his survival, unfortunately requires him to withhold value in the eyes of the SS. By happenstance, he becomes acquainted with the Tatowierer (the Tattooist) of Auschwitz and becomes his apprentice, tattooing the identification numbers on the left arms of all who pass through Auschwitz-Birkenau’s gates. Until one day, he himself becomes the Tatowierer. However, his title brings him ranking and status within the leagues of the SS. He fears that his means to survival will be misconstrued as him being a collaborator. Even though his title gives him privileges, he shares those extra rations with those around him. Lale vows to not only walk out of this hell, but to have Gita, his true love by his side. Morris does an outstanding job detailing the barbaric and horrifying reality that Lale and Gita are surrounded by. It transports you back so that you view things from within Lale’s eyes, and the perspective is clarifying, all encompassing, and absolutely terrifying. There are things you cannot un-see; as Lale, Gita and many others can bear testament to; let these sights and stories serve as a reminder to how far humanity can fall when we being to persecute others.
Date published: 2019-05-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I can't say I enjoyed it. I very much enjoy reading what I can find that would interest me. Reading the overview about what this book was about, and seeing someone else read it, I felt I should read it myself. I can say that although it did have some good parts, there was more wrong with it than the good. The writing was not that great. It felt like the book was just being rushed, and some of the stories in it were leaving you feeling like some thing more was missing. The people in the book, I felt, did not have much depth and were just an after thought. I felt the author just thought of a lot of the information because she needed more of a filler. I am sure I will not recommend this book.
Date published: 2019-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good I love historical fiction so it’s very easy to like this book, one thing that I didn’t like as much is how certain things ended up in an almost impossibly serendipitous way. What I did appreciate was this gave another point of view to ww2 book, I’ve never seen another novel about a tattooist in the war before.
Date published: 2019-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as expected. I prefer to read historical fiction and this book came highly recommended. There were several details that seemed unrealistic regarding the love story and their survival in the camps, which made me question how accurate the historical research was.....perhaps just too much fiction!
Date published: 2019-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Can’t stop reading ! I bought this a week ago and I couldn’t let it go, the story just keeps you wanting more with the suspense and desire to know if the protagonist Lale makes it out of Auschwitz.
Date published: 2019-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a love story This was a very good book, it's a love story set against the horrors of a concentration camp. Some parts of this book were difficult to read, but most often, the author gets the point across with such delicacy, it is not too upsetting. Good read, for any age.
Date published: 2019-05-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from There are thousands of Holocaust fiction books. This is not the one to read. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of those books I wish I could say I loved, but unfortunately makes me feel like a monster when I have to admit that it didn’t work for me. I wish this book had been written as a piece of non-fiction and by someone else. Where in Poland in 1943/44 was Viktor getting chocolate and even Penicillin? Seriously? Bearing in mind that valuables brought in by prisoners were of huge value to the Nazi regime I was quite incredulous as to the amount that could apparently be smuggled away. As for the incident with the improvised grenades, the gunpowder was actually smuggled out alongside corpses (I bothered to look it up), so why does the author have it being under prisoners fingernails? This "fact" is quite frankly ridiculous and historically inaccurate and is only one example of many. In conclusion I would say that I actually found this book borderline offensive in the way it dealt with the subject matter.
Date published: 2019-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Remarkable. I very much flew through this one, and found the story so incredibly compelling. To say that this story is beautiful and heartbreaking feels like an obvious understatement, but both ring very true. The opportunity to see inside this historical travesty is something that should be witnessed by any book lover out there - it remains thoroughly stunning to me that we live in a world where this was permitted to happen at all, much less for as long as it did. These are the stories that are so deeply compelling and need to be heard - over and over and over again. I’m grateful that Mr. Sokolov chose to share his story and that I have been able to hold the space to hear it. It would have taken tremendous strength to survive this, much less revisit and reflect on your journey through it. A book I could not recommend enough for readers everywhere.
Date published: 2019-04-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not my type This is not the type of book I normally read but it came highly recommended. I would not recommend this book to anyone. i found it poorly written
Date published: 2019-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal! An amazing book from one person’s memory. True or not, it’s a love story.
Date published: 2019-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I read this book in one day. It was engaging and well written I wasn’t able to put it down
Date published: 2019-03-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Horribly Written Sham First let's clear one thing up: THIS IS NOT A TRUE STORY. If you need proof, there's even a disclaimer in the first pages by the publisher saying this is a work of fiction. If you need even more, the Auschwitz Memorial has come forward saying most of the things in this book could not have happened. Morris may have listened to a "sweet old man's" story but she changed everything there was to it. She changed the events, she changed the number he tattooed on her, hell she even changed his name (His actual name is Lali, not Lale.) Beyond all of this, the writing is atrocious. It felt like a point by point summary of a book that the author was intending on writing. Reading later, I found out that this book was originally a screenplay she had spent since 2006 trying to get a studio to make it. I don't expect she changed much to turn it into "A Novel". Even though it's clear that the author had a soft spot for Lali, there was no character development, no rhyme or reason why he should have such an insta-love with Gita except the colour of her eyes. She even switched the point of view to Gita's perspective and....nothing. The thing that made me the most angry about this book wasn’t just the terrible writing (seriously his story, whatever it was, deserved far better), not just the “artistic integrity” that she claimed was 95% true at the end of the book (which is probably why HarperCollins put that big ol’ disclaimer to cover their asses) but it was that it made Auschwitz palatable. We’re used to sugar-coated stories and the Hollywood-izing of “true” stories but one thing that should never ever happen is for a reader to come away from a story about Auschwitz, or anything like it, dry eyed. If you want to read a story about a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, I recommend you check out By Chance Alone by Max Eisen. It has acts of heroism, determination, and he gets a girl in the end as well. This book will make you stop, think, cry, put the book down, hug your loved ones, and hope without ceasing that we never repeat our dark past. The difference? This story is true.
Date published: 2019-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Great book for a snowy day. I read it over to cover in one sitting.
Date published: 2019-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it A friend recommended this book & im so happy I read it. It’s a different approach to what I’ve read many times.
Date published: 2019-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it I loved it,. My mother loved it too! It’s an easy read. And gives a kind of message about hope and perseverance.
Date published: 2019-03-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Juvenile I was very excited to read this, but often this felt like I was reading a 14 year old's fan-fiction about love in a concentration camp and I needed to stop because of how uncomfortable that made me. The language is extremely simple, which added slightly to how the account came across as childish - however this did make it an "easy" read in a way. The plot progresses rather quickly and nothing is ever explained in too much detail - I did not feel like I was reading a novel, more like a casual story telling, which sadly drew away from the heart breaking and beautiful moments alike. I don't think I would recommend this to anyone looking for a heavier read.
Date published: 2019-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow. I had heard alot about this book before reading it and it exceeded my expectations. Wow ! So many emotions going through this, beautifully written by the author. A must read I definitely recommend.
Date published: 2019-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down! I purchased this book on a Saturday, started reading on Monday, and by Tuesday I was done. This book offers real life insight as to the conditions at Auschwitz. Having a personal family connection to the holocaust I cried multiple times... I highly recommend this book to all!
Date published: 2019-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing true novel As soon as I saw it I knew it was going to be amazing. I'm not the one to binge on a book and be done within days of buying it but this novel proved that wrong. I could not put it down and I definitely plan to read this over and over in the near coming future.
Date published: 2019-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing true story Unbelievable what the human spirit can endure. Such a beautiful and touching love story and historically interesting.
Date published: 2019-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A dedicated read Could not stop reading it. Beautiful and heart-breaking but defenitly one of the better books I have ever read.
Date published: 2019-02-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lovely story A humbling reminder to cherish our lives. This is a lovely story and a quick read. The writing is a little simple, but instead of seeing it as a negative, I choose to see it as a positive: the book can reach younger audiences (teens) and would keep them engaged while learning about our past.
Date published: 2019-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful story This book is a beautiful story about living in the moment and gaining inner strength and taking risks even in the toughest moments for the ones you care about.
Date published: 2019-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Absolutely loved everything about it, an amazing read.
Date published: 2019-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Astounding Absolutely amazing story, very well written. It captured my attention and I couldn't put it down for 3 days.
Date published: 2019-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Typical Ending I really love reading about this part of WW2 because I cannot imagine what had gone on during that time. This book was a great read and it was easy to read in just a few days. The ONLY thing I did not like about this book was how it ended. Way to predictable for me.
Date published: 2019-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Stellar Account A brave account of the day-to-day realities of Auschwitz. A point in history that some believe did not even occur and others know all too well. This is a story that needs to be told and understood for what it is. How the viscous need for power can result in the obliteration of another. How under the most extreme circumstances, love and hope can be found; at a cost that is sometimes too difficult to even fathom.
Date published: 2019-01-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not the worst, but definitely not the best. The book arrived today in the mail and I must say, I am quite disappointed. Although I have not finished it yet, I do have an idea of how it goes. The idea and concept is very good, but the writing is not. Another review said that the writing was almost juvenile and I completely agree. If any of you are familiar with “fan fiction”, it is written EXACTLY as some of those books are.
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mediocre The 5 star reviews are truly baffling. While the survival story itself is well worth telling, the book is poorly written, unrealistic and also contains a lot of historic inaccuracies. Very disappointing! If you are looking for a real Holocaust story, stay away from this one.
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read This book was an easy beach type of read. It was a great story, told in easy language.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing Quick read but the book lacked emotion. Did not live up to the reviews. This book was just okay, there are books out there that have emotion and captivate the reader. I was quite disappointed with this book as I was very excited to read it and it did not live up to the hype.
Date published: 2019-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stellar For all the sensationalists hoping to be move to tears, move along. This book is a stark look at horrific realities that still manages to convey the hope of a young couple. Good pacing, excellent characterization, and such an attention to detail.
Date published: 2019-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! This was a beautiful book about a terrible subject. Parts were hard to read, but the overall story was very captivating. I thought the ending was a bit too rushed - can't say more without spoilers, but it would have been nice to have a bit more detail there. Otherwise, I loved it.
Date published: 2019-01-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I wanted to love it Again, this one got rave reviews and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!! It was a quick read, but I felt that it was lacking something. I wanted to be moved to tears by the writing on the pages, but it didn't happen.
Date published: 2019-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I enjoyed reading this book. A sad story during a difficult time. It really makes you appreciate how good we have it.
Date published: 2019-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Love this book! I'm not much of a reader and had this book finished in about a week! Beautiful story of a sad time, written as he is telling you his story. Would love to find others of similar content, style
Date published: 2019-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Read I've read many books about WW2 but this book was like no other. It was incredible. It speaks to the tragedies of the war and the love of Lale and Gita. Heather Morris portrayed both these themes throughout the novel in such an incredible way. I could not put this book down and will definitely be reading it again soon.
Date published: 2019-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hooked after the first paragraph A wonderfully written encounter during a horrific time in history. Lale's commitment to helping others survive is something to admire, he could very easily have been a selfish man.
Date published: 2019-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful story gave me goosebumps all the way. a beautiful and sad story between two survivors.
Date published: 2019-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was so well written. I would read this book again. I read it in 2 sittings because I just couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2019-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ive ever read This book encouraged me to create a book club, I could barely put it down and finished it in less than a week! Was so deep and personable, just out of the world that its a true story.
Date published: 2019-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gently written A tale of survival during one of the darkest periods in our history, in unspeakable conditions. Lales’ choices, in order to survive, were harsh and few. He persevered during this horrific time and was able to help others because of the choices he was forced to make. Well written biographical account of a survivor of Auschwitz.
Date published: 2019-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read for All This book is written in a way that would make it easy to read even for a young teen reader. It is great, and I would recommend it to all.
Date published: 2018-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book is a page turner. Read it in one sitting and hard to forget once done. Wish l could go back and read it for the first time.
Date published: 2018-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Above expectations!! I am not really sure what I was expecting but my expectations were surpassed. I felt transported to the camps and had many emotions while reaidng the book. Anger, love, empathy, despair and madness to name a few.
Date published: 2018-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Wonderful story. Well worth the read. There is a lot to consider in this novel, so take it very slow and relish every heartwarming scene
Date published: 2018-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read It’s a story of love and determination in order to to walk out of aushwitz alive. It’s a true story so if you’re interested in history/politics, you will enjoy this.
Date published: 2018-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Overrated I thought this book was very overrated. The first half of the book was quite boring, not much a climax. This book had little detail so it was hard to really get engaged and feel the emotions I likely should have. Half way through the story got better and you were able to attach to the two main characters. It was an okay, quick read, but did not wow me in any way at all.
Date published: 2018-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart warming story I loved everything about this book! It is so beautifully written.
Date published: 2018-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worthwhile read you won’t be able to put down The story and love between Lale and Gita is utterly captivating. As much as I couldn’t put the book down I was saddened to know the story would soon be over, but I had to keep going to see how it would end. A worthy addition to any personal library!
Date published: 2018-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down. It was a great read!
Date published: 2018-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A book about unshakable faith There is love story at the heart of this novel. The true story of Lale, the man forced to tattoo numbers on the arms of every man, woman and child who enters the hell of Auschwitz and Birkenau. He falls in love the minute he sees Gita, a woman who he tattoos and their beautiful story unfolds. I’ve read many books on the holocaust and this is the first time I’ve read a story like this. I am in awe of Lale’s zest for life, his unshakeable faith that he will survive this place and that He and Gita will get to be together outside the gates of this hell. At the same time, you feel for Gita who feels that hope is a dangerous thing to have inside a place where you could be dead at any second for any reason or no reason at all. I felt like I read this book holding my breath, afraid to have hope for these people. This book is a true testament to how love can transform you and hold you together even in the most unimaginable horror. As I finished the last line, I actually hugged the book to me knowing this story will stick with me for a long long time.
Date published: 2018-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soul shifting Amazing but heart wrenching read. Thought provoking perspective on not only how disgusting people can treat others but how resilient people are and the lengths they will go to in order to survive. A must read!
Date published: 2018-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A truly lovely book You think this might be a very grim and sad reminder of the extreme conditions of the holocaust. But this novel is so beautiful and within the covers is a wonderful love story. It’s very well written and keeps your interest throughout. You won’t be able to put it down I promise you, it’s that engaging.
Date published: 2018-11-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from terrible this book is written so poorly - almost juvenile in language and structure there are so many other books on this topic that soar and touch your soul
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book A story about finding love in one of the darkest times on earth. I will say though that I wished the author went into more detail with surroundings and also the ending seemed very rushed to me. Great book overall!!
Date published: 2018-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simplistic writing, powerful story. This is an incredible love story about finding the silver linings in places of deep darkness. The author writes in a simplistic, easy to understand manner. Some people may not like the writing style as it does lack the descriptive quality of say, Suite Francaise. But I don't believe that's a bad thing, it accepts the troubling realities while also outlining an unlikely, and true, love story that occurred in the midst of humanities greatest horror. This is a book that can be read by all ages and I applaud the author for that as I think it is important for literature like this to be available to the next generations.
Date published: 2018-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving account Sparsely written but deeply moving. Although presented as fiction, the story told is based on a true account.
Date published: 2018-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favourite Book of the Year This is a story of human compassion, resilience and survival. Based on a true account of an Auschwitz survivor but written as fiction. Lale was given the task of tattooing the numbers on the prisons of Auschwitch. Both heartwarming and gut wrenching the story follows his captivity and his will to save as many prisoners as he can but one especially captures his eye and this gives him the reason he needs to survive any way he can. I found this story thought provoking begging me to ask myself how would I have survived this and could I have. This is sure to be a book club favourite.
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sobering read This book is beautiful, terrifying, romantic, poignant all at once. An incredible story, it makes you realize how good your life is...
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique Beautiful and touching love story. He really loved his Gita. Couldn't put the book down.
Date published: 2018-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A unique perspective. This book is a beautiful love story, and if you didn't know that Lale was in fact a real life person you would think it was simply a work of fiction. An amazing story of resilience and a story like no other.
Date published: 2018-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and Inspiring Story! This novel was incredible! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in WW2 novels or a beautiful love story. The things that these individuals go through makes you remember how fortunate you are and how precious life is. Couldn't put this one down!
Date published: 2018-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from End of life confession? This is a troubling story of one who survived Auschwitz and how he was able to save the love of his life as well. Why did Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau, wait until the end of his life to record his experiences in this hell on earth? Why was it important to him to have a non-Jew record his story and why did he expressly state that he wanted "no personal baggage brought to my story"? Author, Heather Morris, honours Lale's request and tells his story in a blunt and factual manner. Out of the facts he relates, she creates a novel best described as Biographic Fiction. The story is captivating though upsetting. No matter how many films one may have seen or how many books one may have read dealing with the Holocaust - none are easy to take. The Tatooist of Auschwitz gives us an eye witness account from the man who carried out that task as well as his justification for collaborating in this way. While one may root for Lale and his beloved Gita, there is a troubling undercurrent to the story. At the end of this bare bones narrative, the reader is left contemplating Lale's role in the camp and its morality. Perhaps it is wrong to impose morality on a society where morality did not exist, where only death and total depravity were realities. "What would I have done in Lale's situation?" This is a fair question to be asked and I'm not sure if I or anyone else would be able to give an honest answer. Perhaps Lale, in recounting his story, was seeking some understanding of his situation and some final acceptance of his actions. At day's end we all hope for and rely on God's mercy. I highly suspect that Lale received the warm embrace of his Creator.
Date published: 2018-10-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from juvenile and simplistic this book is really quite poorly written it is so basic, the dialogue, the storytelling there's just hype about a story that has great potential Night, Suite Francaise, Teblinka, Pianist - so many others tell this sotry more powerfully This is a book that is written for the masses- it's simple approach with this emotional story is just what publishers like to sell mass market books. unfortunate but true. just get a better memoir and you'll be grateful
Date published: 2018-10-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from juvenile and basic others are far better this book is really quite poorly written it is so basic, the dialogue, the storytelling there's just hype about a story that has great potential Night, Suite Francaise, Teblinka, Pianist - so many others tell this sotry more powerfully This is a book that is written for the masses- it's simple approach with this emotional story is just what publishers like to sell mass market books. unfortunate but true. just get a better memoir and you'll be grateful
Date published: 2018-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I Couldn't Put It Down I do not generally read books about the Holocaust, although I used to read a lot of them, I eventually found them too disturbing. But the title of this one, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, caught my eye and my interest. I assumed it was about a man who was assigned the job of tattooing incoming prisoners with their numbers. I thought it would be interesting to read about Auschwitz from his perspective. From the moment we meet Lale in the cattle car on his way to Auschwitz, he is likable, friendly, with a dry sense of humour. Author Heather Morris does a wonderful job of bringing out these qualities throughout the book. Lale cared for his fellow prisoners in the most horrible of conditions, a fact that is both inspiring and heartwarming. I could not put the book down. I liked the small cast of characters and cared about them and needed to push through the book to find out what happened to each and every one of them. I read the book in four sittings across two days. A rivetting story of hope, survival, and love. I'm glad I read it.
Date published: 2018-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read A sad but fascinating read. I enjoyed the journey through this novel. No matter how often I read books about this time period ( WW2) I am always shocked by the cruelty one person can inflict on another.
Date published: 2018-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down This was a fantastic read! I've read a lot of books about WWII and the stories of those you lived it. This was written from a different angle, starting at Auschwitz rather then ending there. It was interesting to learn about the different perspective of having to work for the enemy while being giving more privileges than the other prisoners and how Lale uses that to survive. I highly recommend this book. Yes there is a love story but its so much more than that.
Date published: 2018-10-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from disappointed This could have been a beautifully written love story. I read the book but never felt the book.
Date published: 2018-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Love Story Like No Other An incredible story of beautiful love, found in the terror of hell that is Auschwitz. The book is so well written, the true characters are portrayed wonderfully, and the story line pulls on your heartstrings right up to the last page, and more. I recommend this book to absolutley anyone!
Date published: 2018-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Horrifying yet hopeful I have read a lot of WWII fiction. Both based on true story and purely fictional. In all the books I've read, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is, by far, the most harrowing, beautiful, desperate and lovely true story of them all. Unlike most WWII historical books, this one starts at Auschwitz, instead of ending there. The build-up to the war is a paragraph and instead the core story here is surviving and enduring a concentration camp. Over four years time we learn the story of Lale and those he encounters. Lale is a Slovakian Jew who finds his 'place' in the camp as the tattooist. This is a story that is so unbelievable; that were it not right from one man's truth it might be deemed impossible. The Numbers The significance of being demoted to a number cannot be understated here. A person is only really a person with a name, identity and story. Reducing a human to a number is just incorrigible, in so many ways. The real-life Lale, who told his story to author Heather Morris over three years time, was terrified that he would be seen as a Nazi sympathizer. Someone who abet the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Let me assure you, after reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz I don't think anyone could possibly think, for even a moment, that Lale was a part of the problem. His work, to scar humans with a number, was merely a means to an end, a way to stay alive. Bearing his own number all his life, he knew what it was like to be a number at many different moments and so I do not believe that it's possible for him to be considered in any way allied or aligned with the activities at either camp he was involved with. . The Hope Amongst the Horror I personally cannot possibly imagine keeping hope in conditions such as those in Nazi concentration camps. Be they in Poland, Germany or elsewhere. These were places of utter and complete desolation. Where people were made to move rocks all day long, only to move them back to the same spot the following day. No 'work' was 'fruitful' in these camps; except that doing some work kept you alive for another day of starvation and torture. What is truly special about Lale and Gita's story is that somehow, someway they found slivers of hope. A desire, love and drive to stay alive. It takes truly resilient people to keep even a thread of hope when faced with starvation, torture, rape and death every moment of everyday. However, it is clear in Lale's story that there was some luck involved too. This is perhaps one of the most interesting things about this true story. How do you survive four years in Auschwitz and live to tell the story years later? A lot of strength of body and mind; and some four-leaf clover luck. All Range of Emotions I think I went through all of the possible emotions that exist in the mere hours it took me to devour Morris' novel. From utter hatred to all-encompassing love, despair to hope, fierce anger to desperate grief; there is not a single moment in this book that you won't feel something. Even if it's a moment of utter and complete nothing. Something Morris' captures in a way most other writers cannot is the way it may feel to feel nothing. You might think, why on earth would you want this or experience this? In extreme situations humans often shut-down to feel nothing. It's a difficult thing to understand if you have never experienced it; but something that is absolutely truthful in horrifying conditions like those lived by the captives in camps and Morris' captures all of these feelings good, bad and otherwise. Overall No words I could ever write will do justice to the importance or incredibility of this novel. It's such an insane story that you couldn't make it up. Honest. Lale's decision, in the last years of his life, to tell this story is probably his biggest contribution to the world; and this is a man who certainly saved dozens (if not hundreds) of people's lives at any given time through his compassion, generosity and willingness to do what he could when he could. This is the key reason, in my mind, why you could never say those like Lale are at fault for working inside the unreasonable and terrifying parameters given to them by the SS soldiers at these camps. Most important is that Lale's story can now be told to others and provide hope in bleak times. While not everyone is as lucky as Gita and Lale were; it's nice to know that out of the most horrifying time in recent history a love and devotion could blossom. Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
Date published: 2018-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow! This book was truly a unique read. When I was in school you didn't really hear about the stories of the survivors, you knew they survived and some people didn't talk about it. This story had me on the edge, to read Lale and Gita's story of survival, and how they kept strong during one of of the darkest parts of history was truly a blessing. I cried, I laughed and was left on the edge of my seat. A few times you hear, how can this be real. Truly an amazing read of a man who made it through hell and back
Date published: 2018-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Will make a great movie A wonderful read , how anyone could survive a death camp is beyond belief, but when love and a will to live are involved then Lale and Gita’s story will leave you gasping and crying at the same time
Date published: 2018-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful novel I read this novel in one day, it was brilliantly written and absolutely touching. A must read for 2018.
Date published: 2018-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Any book that can illicit strong feelings from me as I read it, is a winner in my eyes! Loved this book from the moment I opened it. Took me only a day to read, as I needed to find out how the story unfolded, which it did, delicately, with precision.
Date published: 2018-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Would recommend Once you start this book, you won't put it down. I finished it in two days. Lale has a beautiful story to share on how he got through one of the most devastating times in history guided by love. Heather does a great job of telling his story.
Date published: 2018-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! 4.5 stars. Really a wonderful book. In some ways beautifully simplistic in its telling of a very comprehensive story with a lot of love and hope among the tragedy.
Date published: 2018-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story I'm still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster that is Lale's story. I've read many, many books about the Holocaust and each one has a different story to tell and each story needs to be told, so it is never forgotten. I highly recommend this book. You will get through it in a day, but Lale and Gita's story will stay with you forever.
Date published: 2018-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Wow, wow, wow! This is an amazing book detailing an amazing time in an amazing man's life. Heather Morris tells the story of Lale and Gita with great skill. This was one of those books I started reading and, after a few minutes, I forgot I was reading and was, instead, a fly on the wall in Auschwitz watching it all unfold. The events and characters will live in my heart now. I understand more and feel more about concentration camps and what happened behind the fence. Everyone should read this book.
Date published: 2018-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I devoured it in a day Lale and Gita's story is so compelling, I couldn't put this book down. You don't expect romance when you pick up a holocaust biography or memoir, but this couple's story of meeting and survival will take your breath away. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time. I learned so much from this book that I hadn't gained from history lessons or other books, like the Third Reich's impact on Slovakia and the fact that there were only one or two tattooists in a camp as big as Auschwitz at any one time. I'd always just assumed there were many.
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good! This book was so good! It's a really interesting perspective of a man who was in the position of the tattooist where his responsibilities were to permanently mark his own people. I finished this book so quickly as every chapter kept me hooked! I highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poignant and Heartwarming Memoir This is a poignant yet heartwarming true story of Lale (Ludwig Eisenberg), a Holocaust survivor and the tattooist of Auschwitz, who found love and hope amid the appalling atrocities on Jews in World War II. I read many memoirs and biographies of Holocaust survivors and each one of them holds a special place in my heart. Their fighting spirit despite the cruelty in Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau camps never cease to amaze me. While many of the stories I read were narrated from prisoners' POV, this is slightly different as it was told from the POV of Auschwitz's tattooist. Lale Eisenberg (who later changed his name to Lale Solokov) a Slovakian Jew was transported to Auschwitz in 1942, was assigned as the assistant to the tattooist Pepan. His job was to tattoo numbers on prisoners' arms and one day when he tattooed prisoner #34902, it was love at first sight with her, Gita (Gisela Furman). Later, Pepan was taken away, and Lale became the Tatowierer. This position came with its benefits and privileges, although he was still living in constant fear of his life. Lale's thoughts about his Tatowierer position: "I have been given the choice of participating in the destruction of our people, and I have chosen to do so in order to survive. I can only hope I am not one day judged as a perpetrator or collaborator." The courtship between Lale and Gita was so sweet. They wrote little notes to each other, met in secret and enjoyed every minute they spent together. Time was so precious to them. They made it work no matter how trying those times were. Love is indeed patient. The storytelling part was pretty good although it needed some refinement. Some sections felt disconnected but it did not alter the flow of the story in a major way. They were like little bumps on the roads, once you get passed them, it's smooth driving again. Characters were quite well-developed. I could connect with both the main and side characters of this story. Each has their own stories and played an integral role in Lale's life. I like Lale's character. He was a humble, honest, helpful and resourceful man. Although his Tatowierer position means he was given more food rations, he did not forget his friends at the old block. He brought them food and helped them as much as he can. Since this book was written from a tattooist POV and his position allowed him to move more freely around the camps, you will read less about the atrocities compared to other books which were written from the prisoners' POV. Please do not get me wrong. Lale was still a prisoner and his life was still at the mercy of these cold-hearted Nazis. He witnessed death all the time. People died from diseases, shot by Nazis, malnutrition, starvation, gassed, beaten to death, experimented on by Dr. Mengele, inclement cold weather, suicides through the electric fence, etc. The difference was that Lale was able to leverage his position for better access to medicine, things (e.g: chocolates, sausages) and to help his friends. Language used is generally clean but there were the occasional use of profane words ("F" & "S" words). My only complaint was the ending. I felt it ended too abruptly. I wish there were more story written about that part, slowly transitioning readers to the ending of Lale and Gita's remarkable story. I however, do appreciate the epilogue and author's note at the end of the book. They certainly provided a better insight into the main characters' lives and the reason for this book. In a nutshell, this is an engaging read leaving me teary-eyed with a gamut of roller-coaster emotions from sad to joy. If you have not read any Holocaust memoirs/biographies before, this would be a good book to start with. A must read! ***I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed in this review are my own and was not influenced by the author, publisher or any third party.***
Date published: 2018-06-29

Editorial Reviews

“Although one might suspect that there’s far more to his past than is revealed here, much of Lale’s story’s complexity makes it onto the page. And even though it’s clear that Lale will survive, Morris imbues the novel with remarkable suspense.”