Then teach me. I want the girl I marry to like me, to be happy with me.’
Lale’s mother sat down, and he took a seat across from her. ‘You must first learn to listen to her. Even if you are tired, never be too tired to listen to what she has to say. Learn what she likes, and more importantly what she doesn’t like. When you can, give her little treats – flowers, chocolates – women like these things” – The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris
Initial thoughts: It was the start of winter break, and I was so happy to finally have a bit of time to read books for fun instead of textbooks and articles to translate. I found myself, as usual right before Christmas, browsing books at Indigo. Indigo, for those who don’t know, is a Canadian bookstore chain. It is my sanctuary. I also can’t go there without buying anything. Unfortunately, during that time, I was going through a book slump. 2 minutes before leaving, I felt the compulsion to buy just one book (a rarity for me). I wandered towards the indigo staff picks and quickly chose The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
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 more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrificIn 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 more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
On Christmas Eve last year, there was not much for me to do but wait until the festivities would start in the evening. I pulled out The Tattooist of Auschwitz knowing full well that I would not be reading a light-hearted story. Even so, I figured that since I had bought it recently, I might as well read a little bit since I had some time. What I didn’t know is that I would become so captivated by the book, and by the time the festivities began, I wanted nothing more than to find out how the book ended.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based upon the life experiences of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish man from Slovakia. In 1942, he was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. By chance, he was given the task of tattooing numbers on each prisoner who would arrive at the camp. In comparison to the other jobs the prisoners were given, being the “Tätowierer” (tattooist in German) saved Lale from experiencing some of the cruelties of life at the concentration camp. His “status” allowed him to provide for his fellow prisoners by sneaking in contraband items.
One day, Lale tattoos the number 32407 on a Continue reading