“Lale tries not to look up.”

The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This is a Bookclub book, so one that I normally would not have picked to read for myself. I did enjoy it much more than I thought I would. Unfortunately we were not able to actually discuss the book once we met up as 3 out of the 6 of us hadn’t actually read the book.

Obviously the Holocaust is not something that makes for an “enjoyable” read, but I could not put this book down. The narrator drew me in, and it was a straight forward account of what happened to a young Jewish man who is sent to Auschwitz during WWII and, through twists of fortune, became the Tattooist–a relatively “respected” position at the camps.

What I like best: it describes and outlines very depressing situations without over dramaticising them. I found that the account of this man was that much more real to me because of how this story was told.

What I like least: Nothing. There is nothing I would change about this book.

While the atrocities of the Holocaust was something that I was already exposed to through school and general cultural references, I don’t think I ever actually read a first hand account of someone who’s lived through it. Reading this man’s words and all that he thought of what was going on around him–it taught me so much about human resilience, empathy, and kindness.

My favourite part: when the prisoners moo’ed on their first night in their block. They were being treated like animals and somehow found the humour in that. Either that or there was simply no other reaction they could have.

I would, and have, recommend this book to anyone, whether they were a serious reader or not. I think 60 years is a long enough time for people to have forgotten what can happen when one man wields absolute power over a nation.

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