The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A heartbreaking true story

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (audio narrated by Richard Armitage) is a great audiobook. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this retelling of an imprisoned man’s true story of his time working in the concentration camps in Auschwitz. This is a heart-wrenching story of hardship, love and political hate. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is out now from Bonnier Zaffre.

The story
The book follows the life of Lale, a Slovakian Jew who has been taken to a concentration camp. He is employed as the Tatto Viera for his camp, meaning that he has to brand each prisoner with a number when they enter the camp. Because of his position, he manages to make friends with some of the guards and scores favours and extra food from other workers. And he falls in love. Gita is also a Slovakian Jew who is working collecting the prisoners’ confiscated belongings, where they can find jewels and treasures. Between them, Lale and Gita attempt to survive the horrors of the camp while watching friends die and be taken away from them at any given moment. With trigger-happy guards, torture of prisoners and dehumanisation of the Jews, this book is not an easy-going narrative, but it is one of the most interesting depictions of the Holocaust that I have ever read..

Why I love this book…
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is a brilliant book because it tells another side of the Holocaust narrative. Learning that inmates would work in administration, tattooing other inmates and various other important jobs shocked me, as I thought that these positions would have been reserved for German soldiers. This is a story that was very much needed, and I hope that it gets made into a film adaptation, because Lale and Gita’s story of survival is very different to the likes of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The genuine nature of both characters when faced with such a harrowing life is inspiring and restored my faith in humanity; that they could go through this and come out on top with a whole life ahead of them and a son is incredible.

Morris tells this tale with the utmost respect for the characters’ real life counterparts; she does not hide that they are not perfect people, but they all touched my heart and gave me hope that good people can exist after such trauma. Her sense of setting, down to the smells and atmosphere of a room is impeccable, and I could not help but put myself in those places when listening to this book. Armitage’s narration gave extra meaning to the story, as again he handled the characters with respect and allowed them their own voices through his. He gave everything the right tone and atmosphere so I felt truly enveloped in the darkness of the story.

Overall, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is an excellent retelling of a true story, and the audiobook is insanely good. I would recommend this to fans of Holocaust fiction/non-fiction, history and wartime readers and to anybody who feels trapped. I hope that Lale and his son live out the rest of their days in peace and happiness.

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