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The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #1)
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DayBooks > June 2020: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Our June 2020 Day Books selection is The Tattooist of Auschwitz. We'll discuss it live via Zoom on June 8 at 1:30pm and/or June 11 at 1:30pm. Register using our online calendar.

Update us here with any questions or comments! Discuss here, too, if you wish. Hope to see you in June!


message 2: by Anne, BPL Librarian (last edited Jun 05, 2020 07:47AM) (new) - added it

Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Questions 1-3:

DISCLAIMER: some of the questions from the publisher made me angry because they could be misconstrued as lending to victim blaming, as if personal qualities could have saved people from the depravities of the Nazis.

1. How did you feel about Lale when he was first introduced, as he arrived in Auschwitz? How did your understanding of him change throughout the novel?

2. What do you think were Lale's most important personality traits or assets that may have helped him survive the camp?

3. Lale is compared to a cat with 9 lives. Of all his escapes from death, which was the most memorable to you?


message 3: by Anne, BPL Librarian (last edited Jun 05, 2020 07:46AM) (new) - added it

Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Questions 4-6:

DISCLAIMER: some of the questions from the publisher made me angry because they could be misconstrued as lending to victim blaming, as if personal qualities could have saved people from the depravities of the Nazis.

4. Lale talks about the young women of the camp. He "knows that they will never grow to be the women they were meant to be." What does he mean? Do you agree or disagree with this analysis?

5. Lale first hears the expression "to save one is to save the world" after some others in the camp pull his almost dead body from the pile and help him recover from typhoid. How did this act of kindness impact Lale? What were other examples from the camp that stayed with you?

6. Discuss some of the small acts of humanity carried out by individuals in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. How did these small acts of kindness have greater implications? Did it make you reconsider what you believe to be brave or heroic? Did this make you think differently about the impact of your own everyday actions?


message 4: by Anne, BPL Librarian (last edited Jun 05, 2020 07:45AM) (new) - added it

Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Questions 7-9:

DISCLAIMER: some of the questions from the publisher made me angry because they could be misconstrued as lending to victim blaming, as if personal qualities could have saved people from the depravities of the Nazis.

7. Survival in the camp in some cases depended on people doing deeds of questionable morality. Lale became the tattooist, but how did Gita’s choices affect her survival? What about her friend who befriended a Nazi?

8. Inmates in the concentration camp had to make life-or-death decisions every day. Why did some make the "right" decisions and survive while others did not?

9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz makes clear that there were also non-Jewish prisoners in the camp. How did the treatment of Jews differ from that of non-Jews? How did differences manifest themselves?


message 5: by Anne, BPL Librarian (last edited Jun 05, 2020 07:45AM) (new) - added it

Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Questions 10-13:

DISCLAIMER: some of the questions from the publisher made me angry because they could be misconstrued as lending to victim blaming, as if personal qualities could have saved people from the depravities of the Nazis.

10. Had Gita and Lale met in a more conventional way, would they have developed the same kind of relationship? How did their circumstances change the course of their romance?

11. In what ways were the relationships between Gita and her friends different from the usual friendships between teenage girls? In what ways were they similar?

12. In what ways was Lale a hero? In what ways was he an ordinary man?

13. Lale faced danger even after the camp was liberated. How did his experiences immediately after liberation prepare him for the rest of his life?


Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Questions 14-16:

DISCLAIMER: some of the questions from the publisher made me angry because they could be misconstrued as lending to victim blaming, as if personal qualities could have saved people from the depravities of the Nazis.

14. Other than Lale and Gita, which character's story are you most interested in learning more about?

15. How does The Tattooist of Auschwitz change your perceptions about the Holocaust in particular, and war in general? What implications does The Tattooist of Auschwitz this book hold for our own time?

16. Does criticism of the book's accuracy affect your appreciation of the book? (examples: Lale's name spelled incorrectly, Gita's number incorrect, the availability of penicillin in Europe at the time)


message 7: by Anne, BPL Librarian (last edited Jun 05, 2020 08:31AM) (new) - added it

Anne, BPL Librarian (anne_bethpl) | 101 comments Mod
Discussion Question 17:

17. For those of you who have read other Holocaust literature and memoirs, how does this compare? I was fortunate enough to take a class with Holocaust survivor Norman Manea. These are some of the titles we read, both fiction and nonfiction:

Night by Elie Wiesel

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth about Hitler's Final Solution by Walter Laqueur

This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski

Enemies: A Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

Badenheim 1939 by Aharon Appelfeld


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