The year is 1942 when Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to Auschwitz, one of the most notorious concentration camps of World War II. While there, his captors discover that he can speak multiple languages, and they put him to work as the Tätowierer (German for tattooist). Lale spends his days permanently marking his fellow prisoners with numbers on their forearms.
During his two and a half years at the camp, he witnesses unspeakable acts of horror and barbarism but also acts of love and hope. One day, he comforts a young woman waiting in line to receive her tattooed number. He vows to survive the camp and someday marry her. Her name is Gita.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
Who doesn’t love a hopeful World War II love story? Especially one that’s based on true events. What drew me into this book initially was the fact that it’s based on true events, and I decided to stick with it because I wanted to know what would happen. But I believe I’ve read better World War II books about the Holocaust than this one. That doesn’t mean I hated it, I thought it was just all right.
What bugged me the most about it was the writing. I didn’t feel like it added anything to the story, and what kept me reading was not the writing, but the story itself. I feel that the writing could have really added something to the story, but instead, it felt bland. And I felt that the blandness of it took a bit away from the story. Besides that, I think it was a good book. I don’t think it’s anything like Night by Elie Wiesel, and I don’t think it’s the first book I would recommend if you asked for a historical novel about World War II, but it’s still good.
Keep in mind, if you do decide to read it, there are lots of times when you witness the events of the Holocaust through Lale’s eyes. They are disturbing and depressing. But many of these events are offset, by Lale’s love for Gita and their determination to survive the camp. The ending is a hopeful one, as they do make it to the liberation of the camp. I think that’s the best part about this book is the lesson that hope prevails in the face of darkness. When all feels utterly lost, love persists.
What makes it all the more enticing, is the fact that it’s based on true events. So you don’t feel like it’s just another story, but one where people really did survive these terrible things and ended up together. Overall, I would recommend this to a busy mom. Just know that it isn’t a spectacular read. But if you’re looking for a true story about World War II that’s inspiring, I say go for it.
Four out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, you might also like Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing The Tattooist of Auschwitz, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.