The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Written by Heather Morris
So I find that once I get out of the habit of reading it can be difficult to start again. I had finished the guild hunter series at the very start of July, and found my self a month later not having picked up a book since then.
I picked this up from my school library, and decided I would do what I tell my kids – and just read for ten minutes before I went to sleep each night. Easy to say this would have definitely been easier to read more of, and in the end I finished it a week later.
This is a historical novel based on a true story. I loved reading the comments by the author, who wrote it as a novel rather than a biography because she wanted to be able to add in Gita’s thoughts as well, and because Gita had already died when the author was told the story by Lale she did not have access to that information, as such it had to be fiction rather than a biography.
This is an amazingly heartwarming story. It is bleak, obviously, it is about one of our bleakest times in history, and is the story of survival. However more than that it is the story and hope of humanity which wins out. Of kindness beyond measure and even at one’s own expense.
This book is unsettling, to say the least, I have read a lot of fiction around the holocaust, but this is definitely feels like one of the more real accounts. It is horrifying to think about some of the things these people were put through, and as if the situation was not awful enough, have to then exist at the whim of others and their mood of the day.
I would really love to teach this book. While one thing I struggle with as an English teacher is the way students relate anything bad to Hitler and the holocaust I think that it is so important that books like this are read and studied. In our current world far to many people are being put away in camps and being locked away without rights, reading accounts of this is the closest we can get to understanding. And literature most definitely offers a window into times we hope that we do not see again.
The character of Lale shows extraordinary strength, and is an admirable character throughout the text. It is him that is able to show us that hope is in fact the strongest aspect of them all.
I would use this with older kids in the classroom, maybe year 10 – but more likely years 11 and 12.