Cover image for The tattooist of Auschwitz : a novel
The tattooist of Auschwitz : a novel
Morris, Heather (Screenwriter), author.




First U.S. edition.
Physical Description:
262, 11 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
General Note:
Details may vary.

"Originally published as The Tattooist of Auschwitz in Australia in 2018 by Bonnier Publishing Australia and in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre"--Title page verso.

Includes "P.S. insights, interviews & more ..." section.
"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 more than 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"--Dust jacket flap.
Geographic Term:


Call Number
Material Type
Atlanta - E.J. Cottrell Memorial Library 1 FICTION New books
Bolivar Free Library 1 FIC MOR New books
Cohocton Public Library 1 FICTION New books
Cuba Circulating Library Association 1 FIC MOR New books
Dundee Library 1 FIC M New books
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION New books
Friendship Free Library 1 FICTION New books
Hammondsport - Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library 1 FIC MOR New books
Hector - Elizabeth B. Pert Reading Center 1 FIC MOR Adult Paperback Fiction Book
Hornell Public Library 1 FICTION New books
Howard Public Library 1 FIC MOR New books
Prattsburgh Library 1 FICTION New books
Richburg - Colonial Library 1 FICTION New books
Savona Free Library 1 FICTION MOR New books
Watkins Glen Public Library 1 FIC MOR New books
Wayland Free Library 1 FICTION MOR Adult Paperback Fiction Book

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Author Notes

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand and now lives in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the U.S. In 2003 Heather rmet Lale Sokolov and they formed a strong bond with each other. Lale began confiding his innermost details of his life during the Holocaust. Heather began writing Lale's story as a screenplay but later reshaped it as her first novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Australian author Morris' first novel is based heavily on the memories of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who spent almost three years in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. For most of that time, he tattooed numbers onto the arms of fellow prisoners, one of whom he would later marry. Like Lale, Gita was Slovakian, and with some maneuvering by him, she was assigned to a relatively safe job, working as a secretary in the administrative building. Morris tells their story in rapidly moving present tense, in which the horrors of the camps contrast with the growing love between them. Lale comes across as a sharp-witted businessman with a touch of the con artist, smuggling out jewels and currency in sausages and chocolate. Although one might suspect that there's far more to his past than is revealed here, much of Lale's story's complexity makes it onto the page. And even though it's clear that Lale will survive, Morris imbues the novel with remarkable suspense.--Margaret Quamme Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Based on a true story, Morris's debut fictionalizes the romance between two concentration camp prisoners during WWII. In 1942, Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is given the position of tattooist, tasked with numbering the arm of every new inmate who enters Auschwitz-Birkenau. He uses his position to procure black market items, which he trades away in return for favors. One day, he tattoos the arm of a young woman named Gita and promptly falls in love with her. They begin meeting on Sundays, the only day of rest in the camps. He vows to Gita that he will marry her when they are freed, a boast that Gita is dubious of but nevertheless clings to. Lale even becomes something of a guardian angel to Gita, providing her with penicillin when she contracts typhus. Separated at the end of the war by the fleeing SS, Lale and Gita set out to find one another again in postwar Europe. To many, this book will be most appreciated for its powerful evocation of the everyday horrors of life as a prisoner in a concentration camp, while others will be heartened by the novel's message of how true love can transcend even the most hellishly inhuman environments. This is a perfect novel for book clubs and readers of historical fiction. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

DEBUT Originally intended as a screenplay, this compelling debut is based on the life of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew imprisoned for almost three years at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he served as the tattooist marking prisoners. Soon after the 25-year-old arrives at Birkenau, he contracts typhus and is left for dead. Rescued by fellow inmates and Pepan, an older French man and tattooist, Lale learns Pepan's trade, which, along with fluency in six languages, allows Lale privileges of a single room and extra food. His sole mission is to survive the unbelievable horrors, until he meets young Gita. Then he vows to marry her. Despite the bleakness and death surrounding them, Lale and Gita's passionate love blooms in their precious moments alone. Readers will root for the two despite the many obstacles they face. VERDICT Historical fiction and memoir fans will be gripped by this unforgettable Holocaust story. [See Prepub Alert, 3/26/18.]-Laura Jones, Argos Community Schs., IN © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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