I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
If you want a novel that breaks your heart and stitches it back together just as quickly, then this is the book for you. I really didn’t know how to begin describing my feelings for this book. It deserves nothing but endless praise.
Although this is predominantly a romance, you get to see and feel everything that happened in Auschwitz-Birkenau through the eyes of the prisoners. The atrocities, the sick-minded Nazis and countless deaths are explained in detail. In my opinion, this is what made the book so incredible. It wasn’t all love and happiness. No, in fact, it was far from it for the majority of the book. The loss and grief Lale and Gita experience are felt as if you lost those people too.
You must go into this novel realising that you are not just reading a romance novel, you are reading truth. You are reading very personal and harrowing accounts of the couple’s time in Auschwitz-Birkenau. There are often times I had to stop myself reading the book because it is so difficult to read. It’s stomach churning and sickening to read about what the survivors had to endure and the many people who lost their lives. It’s hard to read about how humanity could sink so low to the point of being lost.
Lale and Gita’s romance is explained so beautifully. Their faith in each other and their unconditional love gave this novel the humanity it really needed. I find myself talking about the book as if it didn’t happen really happen. But it did. It’s so very real to read about and experience their love so deeply. I have nothing but admiration for Lale for sharing their story. I also adored the friendships made between the prisoners.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is beautifully written and a must read. It receives a 5/5 rating from me because it was incredible.
Until Next Time,