Happy new year to you all! I have been big time MIA lately as I’ve been super busy over the Christmas period. Well, I fib ever so slightly. I was very busy in the run up to the Christmas period, making everything was tied up nicely at work before I broke up for 2 and a half weeks off and then making sure everything was prepared for the big day. Since Christmas I have existed in a state of pure laziness and relaxation where I have taken some time to just do nothing and it’s been absolutely marvellous. I’ve enjoyed every moment and I am dreading returning to real adult life.
What I have managed to do a couple of days ago is finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris and although my review is a couple of days late, it’s here!
Lale Sokolov is a Slovakian Jew who is captured by Germans and taken to concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. When the guards discover that Lale can speak a variety of different languages, they decide to utilise this and give him the role of Tätowierer (the head tattooist). Lale is given the difficult job of tattooing identification numbers on every single prisoner brought into the camps. Within the same year of his capture, he tattoos a young woman named Gita, whom upon meeting he vows to marry when they leave imprisonment. During Lale’s two and a half year imprisonment he witnesses many inhumane atrocities but also bravery and compassion.
This re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s time in the concentration camps in WW2 is whilst difficult reading, extremely inspiring. Obviously I knew the tone that this book would have just by reading the title, however I don’t think I was expecting to take away as much positivity as I did. I anticipated some difficult reading (and don’t get me wrong, there is some), however it wasn’t too gruesome or distasteful. I found that the book was written in such a way that I focused on the indescribable strength and determination of those fighting there way through such an unthinkable experience. There are heart breaking and gut wrenching moments in this story, but also romantic, inspiring and “YESSSS!!!” moments.
The relationships between the different individuals in this story really struck a chord with me. There was the obvious relationship between Lale and Gita, but it was the relationships between Lale and other groups of prisoners and Lale and the guards that I was really interested in. As much as the acts of the guards were disgusting I loved the relationship Lale had with his personal guard. It was almost like the two struck up an unspoken agreement and made each others lives as easy as they could under such harrowing circumstances.
I find it difficult to rate this book as it’s not a story you can say is good or bad, it just is. It happened and that’s as simple as it is. The only thing I can rate this book on is the writing and the telling of the story and for that I am grateful to Heather Morris as I feel that she did an awesome job of both!
“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.” – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris