The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the extraordinary tale of Lale Solokov and how he entered, and survived, Auschwitz. Heather Morris captures everything so perfectly it’s easy to picture, especially as I’ve actually visited both the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, so that only served to make everything feel more real.
Entering the camp as a young man, Lale overcame some harsh realities and learned to work the camps to each small advantage. According to the book, even when his life could have been slightly easier, he worked tirelessly to help others in need and spread a mantra throughout the grounds of “save the one, save the world” there’s a powerful message right there that we can all take away.
The characters are well developed during the course of the story, even the characters you’re not supposed to like become familiar to you. From Lale and Gita, to the SS Soldier placed in charge of Lale, to the blood chilling Doctor, you’ll have some level of appreciation for everyone involved.
For me the most unexpected appreciation came for Baretski, a young and misguided SS Soldier who was placed in charge of Lale. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to like the man, but the exchanges between him and Lale show his immaturity and lack of understanding of the world. I very much enjoyed the way this character was written because I can imagine many of the young SS being the same.
Now, if you’re looking for a book to make you cry, this will likely do it. I got a bit of a tingle in the tip of my nose towards the end of this story and I know lots of people who would probably be bawling.
I recommended this book to my Sister, and waited for her comments following the story to see if they matched mine. The only gripe she had with it was the end seemed quite rushed. I guess after the weight of the rest of the story it does seem that way, but keep in mind that whilst this book is in the Fiction section, it is based on the true story of Lale Solokov and it was Mr Solokov who asked Ms Morris to write the book. It is from his memories that this book was born, and what a book it is.