BLANCHE D’ALPUGET is the acclaimed author of biographies, novels and essays. Her bestselling 1982 classic, Robert J. Hawke: A Biography, won the New South Wales Premier’s Award and remains one of the finest examples of political biographies in Australia. The second edition of the book was republished as Hawke: The Early Years, and d’Alpuget continued the story in Hawke: The Prime Minister in 2010. To mark the late prime minister’s extraordinary life and legacy, d’Alpuget combined the two books for the first time in an updated and revised commemorative edition, Bob Hawke: The Complete Biography, a definitive portrait of the man, on and off the political stage. d’Alpuget’s other non fiction works include Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby, which was published to critical acclaim in 1977 and is still used as a university text in the study of industrial relations. Her novels Monkeys in the Dark, Turtle Beach, Winter in Jerusalem and White Eye won a host of literary prizes, including the PEN Golden Jubilee Award, The Age Novel of the Year Award, the South Australian Premier’s Award and the inaugural Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature. She is also the author of the Birth of the Plantagenets series: The Young Lion, The Lion Rampant, The Lions’ Torment, The Lioness Wakes and The Cubs Roar.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.