Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris

Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris

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Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris

Star Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I give this book 5 stars out of a possible 5. It is a heartbreaking page turner of a book about life in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Despite the depressing premise, hope fuels both the book and the two main characters to their eventual fate.

What It’s About

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the life of Lale Sokolov. This book starts at the beginning in the year 1942, when Sokolov surrenders himself to the Germans. He sacrifices himself in the hope that his family — his parents, sisters, and brothers — will be safe. The book starts with him shoved inside a cattle car with hundreds of other prisoners, all of them bound — though unknown to them — for Auschwitz.

Upon arriving in Auschwitz, Sokolov notes the infamous inscription at the entrance of the camp — Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free). But Sokolov is no ordinary prisoner. He can speak multiple languages, so he is able to listen and understand what the Nazis order them to do in the camps.

After a near death encounter, however, Sokolov is saved by the tattooist in the camp. He then becomes the next tattooist, tattooing the inmates’ prison numbers onto their arms. It is a job that he hates doing, but one that ultimately helps him and his fellow prisoners to survive. Soon, he is able to use his privileged position to smuggle jewels and other valuables out of the camp in exchange for something more valuable — food and medicine.

He also finds love in the camp in the form of a fellow prisoner. His love for this woman — combined with his privileged position — helps him to ultimately avoid the gas chambers and certain death. His love for this woman what saves him as it gives him the motivation and willpower to survive one of the deadliest concentration camps in human history.

Why You Should Read

One major theme in this book is the power of love. It shows how sometimes love, in even the most desperate and horrible situations, can help us to prevail. It shows us how sometimes love can help us get through difficult journeys. That, and sheer will power and loads of luck, is how people can potentially survive the one of the most awful concentration camps.

This book is also a testament to what happened during World War II. It is a testament to what happened in Auschwitz, joining other famous works such as Night by Eli Wiesel or The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Like Wiesel and Frank, Sokolov suffered during those long years in the camp. All of these people should be remembered. All of these lives that were taken were a horrible loss. We should read this book (and others) to make sure that this never happens again.

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See also: My book review from last week

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Hi! I'm Helen and I am a 32 year old biracial millennial mom raising two multiracial children. I am a writer, English consultant, and social media manager. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic.

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris

  1. Well, Helen, you have selected a very heavy book, but the way you acknowledged that love had kept the main character going is sublime. I salute the writer as well as all the Holocaust survivors for sharing their fight and confrontation with those evils. I can understand what you might felt while reading that true story. Love doesn’t fix things but makes things easier to bear, and I think this story is an example of that. Wish the sales will go up with your simple and honest review.🙏

    1. Yes absolutely. Love can’t completely heal but it can sure help us face any challenge. Just knowing that we are loved is the most powerful feeling in the world. In the case of Anne Frank, many have speculated that part of the reason that she gave up and lost the will to live was because she knew her sister was dying and she thought her parents had died by then too. She felt alone, without love by her close family, and so she just lost the will to live. Many have speculated that if she knew her dad was alive, and liberated in Feb & Mar 1945 she may have found some strength to survive.

      1. Thanks for replying back and sharing your thoughts and agreeing with me. Well, Love gives us hope in the darkest day, Anne Frank(RIP) will always be remembered- a girl who believed in love.🌹💔😥

      2. Absolutely, it is amazing that she still held on to love and hope despite the circumstances. It is amazing that she still believed that people are “still good at heart” 🙂

  2. Add Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Though I disagree with some of the conclusions Frankl concludes, his testimony of living through a concentration camp is riveting, and his thought processes are fascinating to follow in this short text. Blessings, c.a.

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