The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a beautiful, haunting novel, based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, prisoner 34902. Sokolov was a Slovakian Jew, held prisoner during World War 2 in the now infamous Auschwitz prison camp. After being apprenticed to the camp Tätowierer, he eventually became the chief tattooist, a position that came with certain privileges. He ate in an administration building, was given extra rations and slept in a single room.
As chief tattooist, Sokolov was forced to mark each prisoner with one of the enduring and most immediately recognisable symbols of the Holocaust – the small blue numbers tattooed on prisoners’ arm. He learned the rules quickly: Keep your head down. Don’t cause trouble. And above all, tattoo whoever comes off the train and lines up in front of you, man, woman or child. One such prisoner was a young woman named Gita and in a place full of hate, Lale and Gita somehow fell in love. Their love story and tale of survival that ends with them moving to Melbourne after the war, is one of great beauty and hope.
Duration: 35 mins
Podcast Guest: Heather Morris
Heather Morris is an Australian writer and social work administrator. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was auctioned by an Academy-Award winning screenwriter in the US. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is her debut novel.