The Tatooist of Auschwitz

A Novel

I have only just finished reading this and have gained something from its tale.

There was a moment towards the end of the story that I started to feel the tears begin to well-up beneath my glasses. The spectacles are not rose-tinted, but are tainted by the passing years. This meant that I read it with eyes that had grown accustomed to to the terrible images that have driven parts of my life for many decades. The Holocaust has left its mark on the world that has bobbed up in its wake. It has left behind is a stigmata that will forever stain mankind’s rights to presume a sense of humanity.

For me, it was a quick read. That disturbed me somewhat as I felt that the story deserved more of my time; not just a cursory excursion into one of the darkest pasts of man’s dark history. I felt like a tourist as I whipped through pages and chapters, following a story of a young man’s love for a young woman he tattooed, upon her entry into a concentration camp. That ought to have been shocking enough, but the problem was that I had read about it many times and the horror of the episode did not shake me in the way it had done in the past. Heather Morris’s writing is good. Her storytelling is good. She kept me on board even when my more critical self began to have doubts. The story appeared to be just that, a story.

Did I get close to the shocking reality of the camps? No.

What I did get to understand was a man’s love for his wife. This was a novel based on recollections and, no matter how much we believe our memories to be authentic, sometimes those recollections play games. They fill in the blanks, erase unwanted truths, and make a narrative that really should have been, rather than the one that actually was.

When I finished the book with tears just on the verge of dropping, I realised that this was something worthwhile to have read. It was a story that belonged to one man who went through a history that should never have been, a history that many are now deciding to refute and deny. Nevertheless, it was HIS STORY and Heather Morris told it well.

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