The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris review – A valuable historical account
Of the many books written about the horrors of Auschwitz, there has never been an account quite like this
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Of the many books written about the horrors of Auschwitz, there has never been an account quite like this. Heather Morris tells what is essentially the true story of Lale Sokolov, the Slovakian Jew who became, from June 1942, the Tätowierer responsible for tattooing their concentration-camp numbers on to the arms of newly arrived prisoners. One day, inking a number on to the arm of a young woman, he looks up and sees her eyes “dance before him”, and he falls instantly in love. Sokolov resolves that he and Gita will survive the Nazi death camp, and he uses his position as Tätowierer to smuggle in food and medicine for her and other prisoners. The horrors Sokolov experiences in Auschwitz – a description of a crematorium heaped with bodies makes for particularly difficult reading – are carefully juxtaposed with scenes of small kindnesses, such as the sharing of food by starving prisoners. A valuable historical account, this is both a fresh reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and an ode to the persistence of humanity even in the darkest of times.