So, today I want to talk to you about The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It is the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who during World War II is transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he works as a Tӓtowierer.
This book is powerful. From the opening pages it draws you in and paints a vivid picture of a world that to us now is unimaginable with its cruelty and viciousness. Heather Morris does a superb job of making you feel like you are Lale’s shadow.
You hover just over his shoulder as he reads the wrought iron inscription, Arbeit macht frei, work sets you free, as he is herded into Auschwitz. You sit beside him for countless days, long months and innumerable hours while, head bent, he carves five numbers onto the forearms of fellow prisoners. Then. A young woman. Number 34902.
“I tattooed her number on her left hand, and she tattooed her number in my heart” – Lale Sokolov, in an interview with Heather Morris
You join Lale as he strikes bargains and cleverly manipulates to try and save himself and Gita from death. You lean in when Lale and Gita snatch moments together, huddled together, cautiously talking about a future. The pages turn faster and faster as the fear and pain and despair begin to infiltrate their relationship.
In a time characterized by its inhumanity the love story of Lale and Gita is intoxicating. Surrounded by blind hate and death they find in each other a reason to fight and survive. Inadvertently their love is one of the biggest ways they are able to defy what the Nazi’s stand for.
I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone pick up a copy of this book. It is a sobering reminder of what humans are capable of; bravery, brutality, hate, kindness, love, murder, sacrifice and everything in-between.
What was the last book that really resonated with you?? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader!
Here is to Lale and Gita. And here is to the books that make us remember.