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The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  53,996 Ratings  ·  4,818 Reviews
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocitie
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 27th 2018 by Bonnier Publishing Australia (first published January 2018)
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Angela Meyer Hi Deanna and Frank, I'm Heather's commissioning editor, just replying on her behalf. As with Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark, the decision was made…moreHi Deanna and Frank, I'm Heather's commissioning editor, just replying on her behalf. As with Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark, the decision was made to release the book as fiction 'based on a true story' because of those moments where creative or dramatic license was taken, such as when she had to fill in small blanks in time, or delve into characters' thoughts. At one point she puts Lale and Gita together, when they were not (when the planes fly over the camp), and some of the names of smaller characters, while representative of real people, are invented. But, in Heather's words, it is 95% true, and if you haven't read it yet you'll be amazed at some of the things Lale and Gita went through. I was astonished, when working on it, to learn just how much of it was true. The dialogue, for example – at first I thought Heather had invented much of what was said, but many of the conversations are word-for-word what Lale told her. I have seen videos of Lale, too, and can confirm this. Of course, he was an old man by then, and so his memory of these conversations is all Heather had to go on, but in terms of the events, researchers revealed that Lale's story very much waltzed in step with history. We hope you enjoy the read, and all the best.(less)
Heather Morris Hi Bern. Thank you so much for your words. They really mean a lot to me.
Yeah, Lale had a way of grabbing at everyone he touched by the heart strings.…more
Hi Bern. Thank you so much for your words. They really mean a lot to me.
Yeah, Lale had a way of grabbing at everyone he touched by the heart strings. He certainly had me wrapped around his little finger. What I can tell you is that the film rights are being considered. As I originally wrote this story as a screenplay I'm very keen that the story get told through that medium. Stay tuned as they say. As soon as I have something I'm allowed to share, this will be the first place I share it, after my family of course.(less)

Community Reviews

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Debra
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll never hear Yiddish again....

I'll never go to the German Consulate with her again...

I’m gutted reading this book. To some I have shared that my family's "MA" was in Auschwitz (everyone called her MA - her daughters, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren, her friends, etc.). She used to say "I have lost everything that can ever be lost “and "I have given everything can that ever be given". She passed away in 2017 at the age of 95. We just had her headstone unveiling. This was probably no
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Miriam Smith
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readers-first
Considering "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" is a harrowing true story, it was truly compelling and utterly unputdownable. It's without a doubt one of only a few books that will stay with me a very long time, it's that unforgettable and one that keeps you thinking about the story well after you've put it down.
Lale Sokolov is a well dressed, charming ladies' man - however he is also a Jew. On arrival at Auschwitz in 1942 he immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners who save his life when he tak
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abby
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Holocaust fiction books in the English language alone. This is not the one to read.

This kind of book is hard to rate. It's based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who volunteered to go to Auschwitz to save his older brother and, through a combination of true grit and luck, he's able to survive and even fall in love. Who wants to give the story of a Holocaust survivor just two stars? Isn't that a bit heartless?

But it's not subject of the b
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Angela M
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Right after I started reading this book there was a story on the local news about a new exhibit at the Jewish Community Center in our area. The exhibit highlights the Holocaust survivors from this area. At kiosks you can click on a name, read a bio but what struck me the most was that you can also see a video of the survivor telling their story. The utmost importance of these stories is reflected at the beginning of this book by author Graeme Simsion: "It reminds us that every one of the unimagi
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Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars!!

This is a historical fiction novel based on a true story. Lale Sokolov tells his story based on true events. He became the main tattooist of Aushwitz and falls in love at first sight with Gita who he first met tattooing her arm. He tattoos all the new prisoners with their identification numbers. Lale is a Jew. He is on the first transport of men from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942. The concentration camp was very horrifying. Lale did have some special privileges, since he was the tatto
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jessica
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
what a comfort it is to know that, even in the most desperate and tragically unfathomable of circumstances, love and hope are possible and can be found.

this was a truly touching story about lale and gita and how the love they found for each other in auschwitz helped them survive. the story is based on true events, information gathered from lales interviews with the author. lale waited until after the death of gita to open up about his experiences due to fear of being perceived as a nazi sympath
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Fran
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The German government needed workers for their labor camps. In 1942, all families in Slovakia were ordered to provide a child eighteen or older for work detail or risk having the entire family sent to concentration camp. Lale Sokolov hoped that by going to Prague to await these instructions his family would be safe. He did not expect to be forced into a cattle wagon and be transported to Auschwitz. He was determined to do as he was told, reveal little about himself and always be observant.

Lale's
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Tammy
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I recall, as a child, accompanying one or the other of my parents to our family jeweler countless times. It seemed as if some piece always needed to be repaired or purchased for one occasion or another. For my tenth birthday I received a small sapphire and diamond ring which was too large and needed to be resized. One day after school off we went to see Marty and Irv. It was an unseasonably warm fall day and Irv had his shirtsleeves rolled up. When he placed his arm on the glass countertop, I sa ...more
Bookdragon Sean
This is an incredible book with a story that demands to be heard.

The year is 2018 and it gladdens me that books like this are still being written. It’s important that we never forget Auschwitz and that we never forget the war crimes Nazi Germany committed. Why? Because we need to know and understand what humanity is capable of, we need to know what extreme hate looks like so we can work towards building a world free from it. This is one of our darkest hours, and we need to remember it.

This i
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Cheri
”Based on an incredible true story” as this states on the cover, this is the story of Lale Sokolov and Gita, the woman who he meets at Auschwitz, both prisoners there. At first Lale is working on a roof, and this is what he does for a while until his kapo says he needs a boy to do his bidding, run errands, bring him food and the like. Then fate intervenes somewhat again for Lale when he becomes the tattooist, the Tätowierer for both Auschwitz and Birkenau, a position under the Political Wing t ...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook....narrated by Richard Armitage....( done well):

Survivors guilt.......
a lifetime traumatic tattoo for a tattoo artist.....
Incapable of being apprehended by the mind of the senses.

Stories that need to be told....
This one sat for many years - decades - untold...
Shame - love - guilt - survival - Love ..... it’s all here.

Thank you to the ‘already’ moving & thoughtful reviews which came before me. Sad - Beautiful- powerful - emotional - honest reviews.

Maria Espadinha
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Armas sem Balas


O Holocausto legou-nos um conjunto inestimável de histórias da vida real, que merecem ser lidas!

São testemunhos de humanos como nós que, quando coagidos a explorar limites, revelaram um potencial ilimitado.
Suportaram fome, torturas, espancamentos,... e — pior que tudo — um amanhã incógnito.
Numa época de tamanhos horrores, acordar para cada dia, era uma vitória da vida sobre a morte!

São histórias didácticas ao revelarem a força anímica que há em nós quando confrontados com situaçõe
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Diane S ☔
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Reviewing a novel about the Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance day seems both apropos, and a great responsibility. Never forget! As long as there are people who need to tell! Their stories, I will continue to read and remember. This is a fictionalized account of a true story, told to the author in the final days of his life. Lale was a young Jewish man from Slovakia, with much to look forward to, when in an effort to save the rest of his family, he is taken to Auschwitz. There he will become the ...more
Kylie D
A unsettling but gripping novel, based on the true story of Lale, a Slovakian Jew caught up in the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during WW2. He speaks several languages, so soon finds himself employed in the camp as the tattooist, the man responsible for inscribing prisoners numbers on their arms. He soon meets and falls in love with Gita, a fellow inmate., but can their love survive the horrors of life inside a concentration camp?
This is a beautifully told tale, Helen Mo
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Karen
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. Lale, being able to speak many languages, was given the job of tattooing the numbers on the incoming prisoners, he met Gita when she was in his line to be tattooed and was immediately taken with her.
Being the tattooist at the camp gave Lale much more freedom of movement then most prisoners and he came upon money and jewels from the murdered Jews to get food to keep other prisoners alive
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Holly  B
Against all odds...

The story of two extraordinary people, Lale and Gita survive the horrors of Auschwitz and find solace in each other. The book is based on their true story.

Lale has the job of tattooist and must tattoo numbers on the arms of countless men, women and children. One day he tattooed #34902 on the arm and Gita. He recalled this day as the day "he tattooed her number on her left arm, she tattooed her number on his heart."

An incredible and memorable story that shows the strong will o
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 utterly unforgettable stars to The Tattooist of Auschwitz 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

This is the story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian prisoners at Auschwitz who fell in love and all the risks and sacrifices made by them and others to keep them alive and together.

It all began with Lale and how he was chosen to be the person who tattoos numbers on the prisoners at Auschwitz and Birkenau. As one can imagine, this was heartbreaking work; but as Pepau (a fellow tattooist) told Lale, at least it was being don
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Brenda - Traveling Sister
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was lost in the all my heart and soul lush coulee with eight of my Traveling Sisters reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a compelling and unforgettable story of hope and courage that is so beautifully written based on interviews with Holocaust Survivor Auschwitz-Birkenau Tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. Lale with compassion and sensitivity, tattoos numbers on the arms of prisoners. While doing this he forms a connection with Gita that leads to a tender and charming
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Esil
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I’m always reluctant to read works of fiction dealing with the Holocaust - although I’ve read my fair share. It’s not that I find it too hard to read about atrocities, it’s that I worry that unless they are done right, fictional accounts run the risk of trivializing this horrific chapter in human history.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz reads like fiction, but is based on interviews the author conducted with its protagonist, Lale Sokolov, over a three year period very late in Lale’s life. A Jew transp
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Lindsay - Traveling Sister
4.5 stars! My heart opened up and welcomed Lale in from the first page of this powerful story.

This is a truly unforgettable story of one man’s journey of survival through one of the most horrendous and appalling times in our history – Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. Lale Sokolov survived the brutal hell known as Auschwitz for over two years where his “job” was to tattoo prisoners with their identifying number. What he endured and witnessed is nothing short of horrific and devastating.

The a
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: Thirsty and exhausted, he is surprised when the piece of paper is yanked from his hand. An SS officer pulls off Lale's jacket, rips his shirtsleeve and pushes his left forearm flat on the table. He stares in disbelief as the numbers 32407 are stabbed into his skin, one after the other by the prisoner. The length of wood with a needle embedded in it moves quickly and painfully. Then the man takes a rag dipped in green ink and rubs it roughly over Lale's wound.

The tattooing has taken onl
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Jen
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all holocaust stories, my heart hurts. It bleeds for all those who suffered and still shocks me.
But the survivors and the hope is unbelievably real. How anyone ever recovers, I will never know. Forgiveness and healing are themselves a miracle and Each story as necessary and precious as the next.

Thank you, Lale, for sharing yours. 4.5⭐
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Carol
3.5 Stars

"Save the one, save the world."

The story of Lale Sokolov is certainly one that needed to be told, to be remembered....his bravery....the risks...his determination to help others....to survive the horrors of Auschwitz....and, of course, how he found the love of his life.

The cattle train, the starvation, the crematoria and the evil Dr. Mengele; it's all here, but still, I did not feel the terror in the narration as compared to the many other holocaust novels I've read.

That being said, I

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[Shai] Bibliophage
Perfect 5 stars for the The Tattooist of Auschwitz! This book follows the true story of Slovakians Lale and Gita who experienced spending several years in the Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust period. Lale was a linguist; a Jew; prisoner 34902; and was a Tetovierer (tattooist in German) in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Birkenau, Poland.

I'm always fascinated on this darkest period of the history, hence I read books that contains the said theme whenever I have the chance. Reading
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Gary
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I read the write up for this work I felt I had to read it and how glad I am that I did. This is a fantastic read and probably the best book I have read for a while and what makes it even more compelling is that it is a true story.
This is the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was held during World War 2 in the infamous Auschwitz prison camp and worked as the tattooist forced to mark each prisoner with an identification number. He himself was prisoner 34902 and against all odds
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Susanne Strong
4 Stars

Lale Sokolov was taken to Auschwitz via cattle car. While being transported, he made a decision to survive. Almost immediately, Lale was made the “Tatowierer” - the Tattooist of Auschwitz - he tattooed the numbers on prisoners that came into both Auschwitz and Birkenau and he saw the haunted looks on everyone’s faces. He learned to be quick, efficient, and look down. One woman haunted him and he memorized her number and he waited.

For Lale, being the Tatowierer had its perks. He got his ow
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Jules
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a very powerful and emotional read. At times it is overwhelmingly harrowing, yet at the same time there is always a hint of hope.

This is a very emotive story of love and friendship in the most unlikely of places. The horror of human brutality entwined with inspirational acts of bravery and human kindness.

I couldn't put this book down and ended up reading it in one three hour sitting last night. I couldn’t bring myself to stop reading. I felt guilty even thinking ab
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Phrynne
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
An interesting tale based on a true story but not really comprehensively told. I enjoyed what was there but there seemed to be so much left out!

Lale was obviously a charming rogue who managed to survive all those years in Auschwitz despite bringing himself to the attention of the authorities repeatedly and in very serious ways. It was amazing that a life long love affair could have begun in such a place and even more amazing that they both survived and found each other again after the war. Obvi
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Jess☺️
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a Harrowing, Heartbreaking, Extremely Emotional and wonderful.
I know what your thinking 'wonderful what she on about' I found it to be wonderful due to the fact that these two people were able to make friendships and fall in love at the most horrendous time of their lives and to fight for it until their end of days.
I found there were many moments in this book (most of it) where I had to take a deep breath,wipe a tear or tears whilst thinking my god
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Dem
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
The power of Love. The Tattooist of Auscwitz is a love story that has stood the test of time and a book that portrays one mans determination to survive against the odds

This is the true story of Lale Sokolov the tattooist of Auschwitz and how found love in the concentration camp. The book is well written, emotional and the story itself is interesting and uplifting. A love story that develops against all that is evil really is worth telling and reading about.
I have read quite a lot of Non Fiction
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Final Round
4,220,801 Votes Cast
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I am a Native of New Zealand now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years I studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an academy award winning Screenwriter in the U.S. In 2003, I was introduced to an elderly gentleman "who might just have a story worth telling". The day I met Lale Sokolov changed my life, as our friendship grew and ...more
“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.” 30 likes
“remember the small things, and the big things will work themselves out.” 17 likes
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