Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: Lale Sokolov has surrendered himself to the Nazis so they will spare his family (so they tell them). He’s a Slavic Jew and is taken to Auschwitz in 1942. At first he’s optimistic. Then reality sits in after the first night at the concentration camp. Lale does what he needs to survive. He starts to befriend the right kapos and guards. He’s daily reminded of the horrors of the camp. Then he gets sick. Somehow, Lale lives. The camp’s tattooist takes care of him and offers him an assistant tattooist job. Lale hesitantly accepts, knowing it could help him survive. While tattooing, he sees a brave woman. Lale knows she’s the girl for him. Then the other tattooist disappears. He internally knows what happened. A guard Lale’s befriended gets him the information he needs. The woman’s name is Gita. They meet through the fence and start talking when the guards aren’t looking. Slowly, they fall in love. Lale finds some ways to bribe the guards so he can meet with Gita. But will it be enough? Can both of them survive? Or will they be caught? Can their love outlast the Nazis? Or is the hate and oppression stronger?
Rating: 4.5 – a heartbreaking story of love during the Holocaust
Opinion: As sad as this story was, I really enjoyed it. It broke my heart every time I read it, but I had to know if they survived. Both Lale and Gita, as did everyone else, did what they had to to survive. But they didn’t let it destroy their souls. They had hope somewhere inside them. That’s what kept me reading. Even when the odds kept stacking up against them, they found ways to survive, to hope, to love. The book made me feel the panic when the characters faced the obstacles, the horrors of Dr. Mengele, the doctor described as the ‘Angel of Death,’ and despair when Lale was sent away. The book was personal as it was about real people who survived the Holocaust. Even though the book was sad, it still had hope and love woven throughout. It keeps you reading. I highly recommend this book for those who love historical fiction and need a survival story with hope and love.