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Lale Sokolov ends up at the concentration camp at Auschwitz/Birkenau and is assigned the job of tattooing the numbers on the arms of the prisoners. He meets a girl by the name of Gita and falls in love with her. In the time he is at the camp he witnesses terrible horrors. He risks his life to try to help keep his fellow prisoners alive.
I found this book very interesting because I like to read about the concentration camps and WWII. It was based on a real life story so the information was accurate. This is a must read for history buffs everywhere.
I was afraid to read this book because of the reaction of others to reading about the Nazi concentration camps. But, I was wonderfully surprised. This was a story of survival and the building of relationships that helped the prisoners survive with the small thoughtful acts of the tattooist who imprinted these same prisoners. He decided he had to survive by taking a job that would be considered that of a collaborator. But through that job and his cleverness, he was able to provide some extras for so many of those prisoners that enabled them to survive. And the love story that evolved was beautiful. It is based on a true story with a delightful explanation of the relationship that developed between the author and the tattooist
Don't hate me for giving one star to a Holocaust book; I swear I'm not heartless. But despite the horrific events related, this book was so poorly written, the characters so flatly drawn, and the style so lacking in skill (this happened, then this, then this, then here's some stilted dialogue) that I remained detached throughout. Based on the true life of the central character, I wish he had found a different author to tell his story to. She created a poor novel from his arresting life story.
I mostly found this book interesting, especially that it is based on a true story. Many plot situations and dialogues were fictionalized though, and sometimes I found the writing far-fetched. It is a good read at this time of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, so I recommend it.
The author could have done so much more- I did not feel connected to the characters the way I have in other books that revolve around the Holocaust. It felt a little empty, I know the events are awful and unimaginable, however, this was written in such matter-of-fact with no emotion to it. I wanted to love it, but I didn't.
I absolutely love books where good bats the hell out of evil! If you believe that love can conquer all, then this book of amazing will, determination and undaunting courage to survive is for you. I read it in one full day. An amazing read!
This book is a view of the horrors, albeit not a diary, but still conveyed by a survivor, who was likely 1 in 10,000. As much as I want to believe "romance" survived in the camp, this book sure pushes it and makes it a page turner. Another lens to see what lengths it took to survive this unimaginable place in all its filth and toil...may it not be remembered and not repeated.
Read it in one day, and I can't remember the last time a book compelled me to do that.. It is poignant, and unforgettable. Why would anyone criticize Lale for "working for" the Nazis? That's what every interred victim was doing - to do otherwise would have meant death, possibly even torture. They didn't have a choice if they wanted a chance at survival! No one can really predict their own behavior in life or death circumstances, particularly one as inhumane and barbaric as this. Please don't blame the victims.
Do yourself a favor, stop reading your current book. Start reading THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by HEATHER MORRIS. This book should be required reading in all literature and history classes at the high school level and above. This is a love story set in, of all places, a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Once started, you will not be able to put it down. It brought tears to my eyes many times. At other points, I wanted to cheer out loud.
Ludwig (Lale) Eisenberg was born in Krompachy, Slovakia in 1916. He was transported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in April 1942. Gisela (Gita) Fuhrmannova was born in Vranov nad Topl’ou, Slovakia in 1925. Gita arrived in Auschwitz ten days before Lale.
After gaining their freedom, they were married in late 1945 at which point Lale took on the last name of his married sister, Sokolov. Gita died in Australia in October 2003. Lale died in Australia in October 2006.
Shortly after his arrival at Auschwitz, Lale was made assistant “Tattooist” eventually becoming a lead tattooist. His function was to put the tattoo numbers on the arms of new prisoners. He tried to do that as humanely as possible. As “Tattooist”, he was allowed to have a private room and slightly better and more food. He also had the ability to travel within the camp grounds. That is how he met and fell in love with Gita.
Lale was a hero. Through his “privileged” status, he was able to steal food for his friends, especially Gita. He was able to get medicine for Gita when she contracted typhus. He saved the lives of a few of his fellow prisoners. At one point, Lale is beaten by a guard whom he had helped. The guard did not beat Lale as severely as he could have.
The book is what today is classified as Creative Non-fiction, factual but with created dialogue. The presentation is flawless. It shows that happiness is possible under the worst possible conditions. Lale always promised Gita that they would survive and get married. Mazel Tov!
GO! BUY! READ!
I really loved reading this book. I have an Aunt who survived Auschwitz so I tend to stray away from these types of books because they never truly express what life was really like for these people and what they would do to survive. This book was an easy read and a beautiful story about survival, love and strength. I did however, find the ending very rushed as if they were trying to just finish off the book. I felt that this book really captured what days and nights were really like while still making it a bearable read. I would definitely recommend this book!
having pushed forward, however reluctantly, on the strength of favourable notices, to page 54 only, I finally put the book down for its being not only improbable, but also poorly written, the horrors of Auschwitz turned into a pulpy "true romance" - yech
This is a simple, quick read told in a straightforward fashion. I came away with a sense that the real Lali Sokolov was a bright, quick-witted man with a huge, generous heart. He did what he needed to do in order to survive, just as anyone would do when facing possible death each day. How fortunate we are that he finally, as an old man, told his story as he remembered it some 60 years later. I have no patience for those who nit-pick the details of his 3 years of surviving Auschwitz – this is his narrative, his truth, as he remembered it and shared the details with the author. A worthwhile read.
Ultimately, I could not find much to recommend in this book. It's meant to be a tale of survival. However, I cannot get past the fact that the main character survived by working with the Nazis. Furthermore, he steals from the personal belongings confiscated by Nazi officers from their victim to bribe guards and buy favors and special treatment for himself and woman he loves. I'm sure it's hard to find morality, even among the prisoners, in a concentration camp, but the tattooist's only morality seems to be that he and his girlfriend must survive.
The author, Heather Morris, has portrayed strong emotions in the main characters. This book contains romance and action which are two things I enjoy to read in a novel. It is also historical as it talks about the Second World War as well as including the significance of the Auschwitz Concentration Camps during that war. In the first couple of chapters, we are powerfully introduced to a very important man named Lale. As I continued to read the story, I got more pulled in as soon as a new character joins the story. This novel was very enjoyable and I also learned more about World War II that I did not know about which was very interesting. I would rate this novel a nine out of ten. @YoumnaLovesBooks of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
RATING: 3 STARS
Last year, I found myself getting a bit burnt out on WWI and WWII historical fiction novels. I found that many were following a formula of based on true stories of women, lighter romance and/or secret spies. A few I read were amazing, but on the whole I have been meh. Some I haven't been able to get through, some I think I might like once I take a break and have put to the side, and some have been like The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It is engaging, and because it is a true story it is plausible, and an "easy read" (not on subject matter, but rather how it is written). I continued to read this novel, rather than putting it aside, because this was the best it was going to be for me, I am afraid. Maybe I went into this with too high of expectations - as most people loved this book. I did find the tattooing of prisoners interesting, as I have not heard too much about that in my studies. I will be reading Cilka's Journey as the synopsis sounds really intriguing.
This book was a quick read for me. I could not put it down. No matter what they were put through, their love survived. They had something to live for. My heart breaks for all who lost their lives to this war.
I had higher expectations for this book based on it’s popularity and the reviews. I found it overly simplistic and did not feel the characters were well developed. It was without any new insights. I found some of the story improbable and was therefore not surprised to learn of the many historical inaccuracies. I think the author or editors could have done a better job of fact checking. In the end I also felt that the two main characters were collaborating with the Natzis and that this behavior continued with collaborating with the Russians after the war. Would have been a better read if this aspect of survival had been explored more.
Really enjoyed this story of survival related in such a compelling and direct way. It made me want to know more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although the setting and plot was very sad. Based on the life of the true tattooist of Auschwitz. Well worth the time.
This was a great book. Heather Morris wrote a poignant book of survival and love. Parts of the story are difficult to read but necessary to show the true horror of the holocaust. It is important to know the hard truths of history as to not repeat it. This should be required reading for students. God bless Lale and Gita and all survivors everywhere.
An inspiring novel based on a true story of how love can arise in even the most grim of circumstances and how it can sustain survival. The storytelling is direct, sparse, and uncomplicated.