Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

When Lale walked beneath the lie that dressed the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, he intended to keep his head down and do whatever he was told, whatever he had to do to avoid being killed. He hadn’t counted on two impossible events: being chosen as the tattooist’s assistant, and falling in love in the death camps.

The day he was forced to tattoo Gita’s arm as she entered the camp is the day everything changed. Lale would do anything to keep her alive, even if it meant risking everything. In the shadow of smoke from the furnaces of Hell, Lale and Gita run an unofficial black market of food and medicine, paid for with the spoils of war stolen from beneath the noses of their captors, and bought from secret sympathizers hired by the enemy to build the tools of destruction. All they had to do was protect each other long enough to survive the nightmare, however long it lasted.

I usually review books that make great family read alouds, but this is an exception. It does have some language, and due to the setting there are very adult themes that run through the book. Because it is the true story of a survivor, an unlikely hero in the midst of a darkness the world would love to forget, I feel this book deserves a place here. Lyle and Gita’s ability to produce joy in the deepest darkness and willingness to risk everything to save each other as well as their fellow prisoners will inspire any reader.

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