The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

A Novel

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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 over 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." -- Publisher.
Publisher: New York City, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780062877000
Characteristics: 262, 11 pages :,illustrations, map, portraits ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 19, 2019

It is frustrating that Ms. Morris was so cavalier with the facts, presenting them as one survivor's "true" story. It was so inconceivable that two people were having a romantic relationship in a death camp. As other patrons have noted, at the back of the book it is revealed that this story started out as a screenplay and Ms. Morris tried to shop that around. That is very evident fiction over historical facts.

Jun 19, 2019

THIS WAS VERY GOOD. A BOOK CLUB POSSIBILITY. Not the usual Auschwitz horror, but instead a love story in the midst of horror. A short book and an easy read with a happy ending.

Jun 12, 2019

Recent comments reflect the historical inaccuracy and rudimentary quality of writing in this novel, which the author and publisher present as being a work of historical fiction. It is not accurate and should be taken as a novel in which the author took a fiction writer's imaginative license with a real person's story. For details of the discrepancies, you may refer to this review in The Guardian newspaper:

If the book were to be re-issued with an honest preface and the inacurracies corrected (penicillin was not available during the second world war--anywhere--not to mention in a rural Polish village), it could be considered an interesting first novel. Dr. Josef Mengele, in spite of the horrors he perpetrated upon twins and people with disabilities, never castrated men. The author and her fact checkers were not diligent. The book is misleading.

Jun 07, 2019

Wasn't especially well-written...I found out later the author is a screenwriter and this was her first novel. Well, it showed. The writing was terse in an awkward, almost childish way. She also took a lot of liberties with her imagination, according to actual historians of Auschwitz who have slammed this book for its inaccuracies. The way the love story unfolded didn't especially move me either. The subject matter could've been handled so much better.

May 26, 2019

Awful, irresponsible book. So much is so unbelievable! Some of the scenes were written as if the characters were at summer camp with guns, not in a concentration camp. How many times did Lale sneak out of his room? How many times were the SS looking away? He was able to sneak jewelry and precious gems into his room? The women were able to chat, gossip, and giggle?! I am baffled that this was published. It’s atrocious and irresponsible.

May 18, 2019

This story is so important, and could have been so beautifully told. Morris just wasn't the one who should have written this book. Very surface level and didn't engage me nearly the way it could have.

Apr 29, 2019

What would you do to survive the Holocaust? Atrocities are everywhere. Most of us wouldn't have survived. And, I think this is the point of the book. Lale and Gita Sokolov weren't perfect people, but they DID survive. They married. They had a son Gary. We can question Lale's ethics, but we can't question his overwhelming desire to see everyone he knew survive the horrors of Nazi Germany.

ArapahoeKatieK Apr 24, 2019

A heartwarming story about love in the unlikeliest of places and how that love survived. Based on the lives of actual Holocaust survivors, it gives us a peek into what life was like in the camps. Definitely worth a read.

Apr 22, 2019

The story held my interest and, in truth, I couldn't put it down. However, the writing is terrible. It's a poor adaptation of a screenplay. And why does Lale Sokolov's story need to be fictionalized? This book is on par with what I consider to be a disturbing trend in Holocaust-related literature: sexy and romaticized works aimed at younger readers. To reference John Boyne, if you're going to write about the Holocaust, you better have something to say. Morris adds nothing to this genre. The story is meant to suck you in and make money.

Apr 20, 2019

In the main, this ws a badly written book and the last five pages or so were the worst-as if the author got bored and wanted to be done with it.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
ArapahoeMaryA Jan 02, 2019

...choosing to live is an act of defiance, a form of heroism.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top