“This book is incredibly heart-warming in its optimism and humanity and is a true story of survival and love during the Holocaust.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This story is based on the real life experiences of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who is transported to Auschwitz and there becomes a tattooist for the Nazis, tattooing numbers on the prisoners for identification purposes.
Shortly upon arriving at the camp, Lale is ordered to assist in the tattooing, and then becomes the man in charge of the job. Here he befriends many people, and this allows him to trade for extra food and other items on the black market, which he shares with his fellow inmates.
In the course of doing this job me must tattoo a young lady named Gita, who he instantly becomes attracted to. She will become the love of his life.
The story is filled with the dangers of everyday life in the camp, the choices between life and death that are made on a daily basis by the Nazis, and sometimes by the inmates themselves. But above all else, it is a story of love and survival.
The book includes an Afterword by Lale’s son, and their are actual photos of Lale and Gita.
This is a very quick read as it is mainly dialogue driven and a truly amazing story of what people can accomplish, even under the very worst of circumstances.
Added 26th December 2018
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
It’s hard not to be biased when listening to a narration by my favorite actor and narrator Richard Armitage, he was absolutely brilliant with the voices of the characters and brings just the right amount of emotion to the story.
In this work which is a fictional account of an historical event, the holocaust, we meet the protagonist of our story, Lale Sokolov who was the tattooist of Auchwitz-Birkenau in Poland during WWII.
The author spent a good deal of time with Lale after the death of his wife Gita, who he met and fell in love with at the concentration camp and she interviewed him to write his story, he needed to tell it before he left this life.
This is their story, one of love amidst the terrible conditions they were placed in, two ordinary people who lived through an extraordinary time. Without a doubt it is a remarkable story of survival and courage. Surviving Auchwitz, then escaping separately as the Nazi’s removed those prisoners still living to exterminate them somewhere else as the Soviet army advanced was intense. Free but not free as they are in the Soviet Union when the war ends they escape and begin life anew in Australia.
I highly recommend reading/listening to this novel and hope at some point it will have a visual made from it.
Added 28th March 2018
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
How does one review a book which tugs at your heart and touches your soul?
This is a story of two ordinary people, living in an extra-ordinary time, deprived not only of their freedom but their dignity, their names, and their identities.
Told from the viewpoint of Ludwig Eisenberg (later Sokolov), aka Lale, from Krompachy, Slovakia, this is a first person account of his life in Auschwitz. He volunteered to work for the German government to prevent his whole family from being taken to concentration camps, and found himself in Auschwitz.
He lands a job as the Tattooist of Auschwitz, wherein his primary responsibility, is to ink each new person with a no. which will identify him or her.
On the job, he meets Gita and while inking her, it was love at first sight.
Lale lived his life, in Auschwitz, by the motto:
If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.
He firmly believed that he will live to leave that place and will walk out a free man, with Gita.
Lale was kind to everyone and had respect for others. Because of these traits of his, he becomes a friend to all prisoners. And it was his kind deeds and simple acts of humanity, along with his resilience, which brought him back from death many-a-times.
Lale and Gita’s inspirational love story is the central theme of this book.
Not only did they survive – they lived to tell their story.
This book is incredibly heart-warming in its optimism and humanity and is a true story of survival and love during the Holocaust.
I will leave you with a quote:
“When you spend years not knowing whether in five minutes’ time you will be dead, there’s not much that you can’t deal with”.
My rating is not for the writing.
It is for their grit, determination and resilience.
5/5 for me.
Added 16th January 2018