Would you have survived the Holocaust? This is the central question in Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I’m fairly certain I would have wanted the SS troopers to just shoot me and put me out of my misery. I don’t think my desire to survive would have trumped the atrocities experienced by Lale and Gita Sokolov.
Yet, they fell in love when Lale tattooed numbers on Gita’s wrist. Their love endured the atrocities. They survived. They married. They had a son Gary. Their story would be Forrest Gump but for World War II and concentration camps.
Lale isn’t a perfect person, but his commitment to saving others is truly admirable. Yes, his ethics were questionable. He did what he had to do to survive and save the lives of people he cared about and loved. War is hell.
The book was recommended to me by my survivor buddy Cory, and I confess I wouldn’t have read it otherwise. I couldn’t put it down. Yes, the story is fiction. But, it is based on the very real life experiences of the Sokolovs. The power of their love gives me hope.
What would you do for love? What would you do to survive?
These are the questions raised by The Tattooist of Auschwitz.