The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a novel by Heather Morris. It follows Lale from his journey into the concentration camp, through his time there and how his story ends. I was surprised when I saw on the front of the book that this is based on a true story. Lale was a real person and the book was created after Morris sat with him and spoke of his time in the concentration camp numerous times. This novel was initially written as a screenplay but, although I’m sure Morris was disappointed, I’m pleased that it didn’t get picked up and was converted to a book, I feel like we heard so much more about Lale’s life than we would have done in a movie or similar.
It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed a book about someone’s experience in a concentration camp, but I did. Obviously there were parts of the book that were harrowing and shocking, I was quite surprised at how naïve I was about what happened in the concentration camps, but overall I found the book uplifting. It showed the inner strength that Lale, and many others, had and demonstrates what people are capable of, both negatively and positively.
I found the book to be really well written. In my head the images of the camp and the people were clear, and the characters were written so well that I felt invested in those I read about and truly cared about how they were.
The edition of the book that I read had an epilogue and additional information that told you the outcome of Lale’s life (and those of some of the other main ‘characters’), it had photos from his life which were incredible to see, and there were also diagrams of how Auschwitz was laid out which I found it very similar to how I had imagined it from the book. There was also an afterword by someone who was very close to Lale and Morris wrote about a trip she took to both Auschwitz and his hometown. All of these came together to bring Lale into the real world, rather than just a character in a book he was a real person, which gave the experiences detailed in the book that much more depth and feeling.
I highly recommend this book to read, to learn more about an important time in our history and get an understanding of what so many people went through (no matter how small that understanding is), it’s inspiring and a book I shall definitely be reading again in the future.