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The Tattooist of Auschwitz Audiobook

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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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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  • Gillian
    Austin, TX, United States
    21/02/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What?!? Only 3 Stars For Richard Armitage? Yes..."

    Don't get me wrong--generally, Armitage absolutely elevates prose to dizzying heights, and when I saw he was to be the narrator of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, I was thrilled.
    Uhm, no.
    The book is fraught with tragedy, has tenderness, has passion, but Armitage delivers it all in the same ponderous, oh so ponderous, tones. I had to speed the whole thing up to x1.25-x1.5 speed as what sensitivity there was within the text is lost in such slooooow and serious reading. He does well with accents, well with dialogue, but for the most part... ouch!
    And this is very much an Ouch-ish kind of book. Lale and Gita have nothing, no power of choice, little dignity; all they have is each other in horrific circumstances. They live moment to moment, never knowing when the SS will come for them. Never knowing when they can laugh, when they can kiss. The book depicts the terrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau quite well, the determination to just get through each day, surviving at all costs--even if that means "defiling" your fellow human being with tattoos that turn a person into a number rather than a name (but don't worry--Lale shows his humanity in numerous other ways).
    While a good book, I don't think it merits 5-stars as it's fairly easy to put down/put away for a time, and I'm very much into cover-to-cover listens.
    Maybe it was Armitage (whom I would still gladly listen to in another work), maybe it was a certain dryness of the text. I don't know.
    I'm glad I listened to it, but I wish it had been more engaging...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Anna E.
    Norwell, MA USA
    21/02/18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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