Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

I’m still recovering from reading this phenomenal story about a boy who meets a girl and how they fall in love. Simple. Yes, it’s the sort of story told many times over the ages. Except for one thing. This tale is set in the most horrific place ever conjured up in the world – a concentration camp of pure hell. What makes this even more incredible is that this is not make-believe – it all happened. How Heather Morris painstakingly researched and put together this story is incredible. She manages to take Lale and Gita’s story and weave a thing of beauty, survival, drama and love.

Lale is a survivor with wit and determination whose job is to tattoo numbers on the arms of each prisoner as they are brought in to Auschwitz. He meets Gita when he tattoos her arm. Against all odds their love grows as they both survive numerous scrapes and almost death. Lale gains trust from his captives and uses his position to not only survive but help as many as he can.

Heather Morris leads us into the camp and gives a tour of brutality, death and inhumanity. At times, it’s almost too much and then she deftly gives us the relief of Lale’s antics – sneaking a kiss from Gita or using a dopey SS officer to smuggle letters to her. There are tears and smiles as we quickly grow to love this couple.

We are reminded however that history has a habit of repeating itself as with all wars since, continues to cause insurmountable misery and grief for so many. Only a week ago refugees were adrift on the Mediterranean Sea fleeing from war.

Lale and Gita’s story needed to be told and I’m grateful to Heather Morris for persisting and bringing it to us. This is a book which will stay with me for a very long time and is highly recommended.

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