• The Tattooist of Auschwitz

  • By: Heather Morris
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-20-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (201 ratings)

Regular price: $37.30

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Publisher's Summary

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival. 
There have been many books about the Holocaust - and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov's incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive - not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also - almost unbelievably - a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story - their story - will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances. 
Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story. 
©2018 Heather Morris (P)2018 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Anna E. on 02-21-18

Recording Technical Issues are distracting

What disappointed you about The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

While I love hearing RCA perform in audio books (David Copperfield is the best),the quality of this recording is jarring and interrupts the flow of the story. It seems as if two or three different recording sessions were cobbled together to make the final cut, but you can hear the change in recording levels, the change in RCA's voice (one segment strong and clear, the next segment raspy and farther away from the mic). This is noticeable from one paragraph to the next, sometimes one sentence to the next. I've not noticed this issue with any other Audible book, so not sure what happened this time. But you Quality Control Dept or Recording Engineers need to listen before they release.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lale, he did what had to be done in order to survive

What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

Always love his performances, but the aforementioned technical issues were messy and made listening less enjoyable.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I guess I'm inured to holocaust stories. My mom was a nurse in the 3rd Army stationed in Munich in WWII. She was one of the first groups to go into Dachau, I heard her stories and saw her photos all my life. So, at least in this story, there was a "happy" ending, they lived.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Valentina Ancilotti on 03-04-18

Thank you

A moving story.... a marvellous voice to give it new life. Thanks to Ms Morris and to Richard Armitage. And to Lale and Gita.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Claire on 02-21-18

Superb

Harrowing but with a strong theme throughout of determination to survive. Excellent book, had me gripped. The inter woven love story amongst the inhumane treatment of the characters by the Nazis, won through. A beautiful memoir that all should read irrespective of their faith, to prevent the holocaust ever happening again x

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37 of 37 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By bookylady on 03-01-18

Heart-rending story, sensitively narrated.

First of all I'd like to say that I did not experience the kind of volume/tonal problems in the sound that other reviewers have mentioned. There were one or two small glitches here and there but nothing really terrible and they certainly didn't spoil the recording or my enjoyment of it.

This is a truly shocking tale of what can happen to humanity when evil ideologies and actions permeate the political elite of a society and, ultimately, the people who carry out that elite's policies. It is harrowing, horrifying and difficult to comprehend the enormity of what happened but I am so glad that I saw it through to the end. I had never heard of Lale Sokolov before listening to this book but I finished it believing that he was a truly remarkable human being, who did what he had to do in order to survive the Holocaust.

Forced to tattoo his fellow Jews in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Lale manages to survive the horror of his job, the cruelty of the SS guards, the evil experiments of Dr.Mengele on some of his friends and the realisation that people were being killed ,en masse, around him. He finds friendship, even love, within the camp and takes terrible risks to save his friends and as many of his camp-mates as he can. Throughout this ordeal and the imprisonment that follows the liberation of the camp by Russian forces, Lale manages to maintain his humanity and decency, even a sense of humour.

The epilogue and author's note were very moving and brought a lump to my throat. The sense of injustice meted out to one of the female characters after the war was profound.

I thought the narration was superb. The tone of voice, the pacing, the sombre quality, the accents and even a sense of menace at times were all well judged and appropriate to the subject matter. It is difficult to use the word 'enjoyment' in relation to this book. I was left with a feeling that it was an important tale of witness and one that should be widely read, so that we never forget how quickly human beings can fall into depravity if we do not challenge evil.

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25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 02-25-18

Couldn’t stop listening

Wow what an amazing insight to the horrors that was Auschwitz! So moving I cried from sadness and I cried from happiness. Amazing thank you

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15 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sarah on 04-30-18

I didn' want it to end (I know that seems ghastly)

Would you consider the audio edition of The Tattooist of Auschwitz to be better than the print version?

As the subject matter was so harrowing there was something very reassuring about the calm, gentle voice of Lale telling his journey. It made it somehow easier to get through.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

The story of liberation for the two of them. While we know only a tiny percentage of those who were sent to the death camps survived, it seems extraordinary that anyone did - let alone surviving for three years.

What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

Lale's voice was so gentle and calm and it really helped with the horror of the story. The german and other accents were very good. However - the female voices always seems overly breathy and weak (these were women who were enduring untold horror sure, but they seemed too feeble at times). Also there seems to be a huge section where Lale's name has been edited in. Its very distracting. Its like it was pronounced wrong in the original recording and had to be edited over.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. I had to break it up (car journeys) and was always frustrated I couldn't keep listening. On the other hand the story was so harrowing you needed time for parts of it to sink in before you could progress.

Any additional comments?

By the end you were so committed to the characters you wanted to hear about the rest of their lives.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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