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The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Cover of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
A Novel
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The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times BestsellerThis beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and...
The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times BestsellerThis beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and...
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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.

About the Author-

  • Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident 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 US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who 'might just have a story worth telling'. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale's story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2018

    Fifteen years ago, Australia-based writer Morris was introduced to Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was forced to tattoo his fellow prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This novel builds on interviews she conducted with Sokolov, portraying his efforts to assist others though surrounded by horrific brutality and his vow to help a young woman named Gita survive the camps and marry her. Already an international best seller; with a 20,000-copy hardcover and 100,000-copy paperback first printing.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 30, 2018
    Based on a true story, Morris’s debut fictionalizes the romance between two concentration camp prisoners during WWII. In 1942, Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is given the position of tattooist, tasked with numbering the arm of every new inmate who enters Auschwitz-Birkenau. He uses his position to procure black market items, which he trades away in return for favors. One day, he tattoos the arm of a young woman named Gita and promptly falls in love with her. They begin meeting on Sundays, the only day of rest in the camps. He vows to Gita that he will marry her when they are freed, a boast that Gita is dubious of but nevertheless clings to. Lale even becomes something of a guardian angel to Gita, providing her with penicillin when she contracts typhus. Separated at the end of the war by the fleeing SS, Lale and Gita set out to find one another again in postwar Europe. To many, this book will be most appreciated for its powerful evocation of the everyday horrors of life as a prisoner in a concentration camp, while others will be heartened by the novel’s message of how true love can transcend even the most hellishly inhuman environments. This is a perfect novel for book clubs and readers of historical fiction.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2018
    An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn't flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims--no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues--the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis' bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale's hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.The writing is merely serviceable, and one can't help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project "The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document.. 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."
  • International bestseller Jill Mansell "What an extraordinary and important book this is. We need as many memories of the Holocaust as we can retain, and this is a moving and ultimately uplifting story of love, loyalties and friendship amidst the horrors of war."
  • Jenna Blum, NYT and international bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family  "As many interviews as I did with Holocaust survivors for the Shoah Foundation and as many devastating testimonies as I heard, I could not stop reading THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ—an extraordinary story of love so fierce it sustained people enduring the unimaginable. Read it, share it, remember it."
  • Publishers Weekly "To many, this book will be most appreciated for its powerful evocation of the everyday horrors of life as a prisoner in a concentration camp, while others will be heartened by the novel's message of how true love can transcend even the most hellishly inhuman environments. This is a perfect novel for book clubs and readers of historical fiction."
  • Kirkus Reviews "..this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off."

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