Russell Woolfe, a faded TV producer, is struggling with his father’s death. Deeply uncomfortable with his own Jewish identity, he is torn between anger with his father—estranged over Russell’s marrying a non-Jewish woman—and grief over their failure to reconcile.
At his father’s memorial Russell meets Joe Kuchinsky, a Polish survivor who unaccountably latches on to him. Kuchinsky claims to possess an ancient Hebrew manuscript that has been in his family for generations and which he wants to have translated before he dies. Kuchinsky believes fervently that the manuscript contains some important ancient wisdom—perhaps, even, the key to the survival of the Jewish people. Despite his doubts, Russell agrees to inspect the manuscript and tell Kuchinsky what it contains.
Thus begins an international mystery that stretches a thousand years in the past, is wrapped in the tragedy of the Holocaust, and which comes to a startling conclusion that has dire personal consequences for everyone caught up in the saga.
Filled with depth and pathos, The Legacy is destined to become one of the most important historical novels of the 21st century.
Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. She is the author of Londonistan, The World Turned Upside Down and Guardian Angel. In 1996 she won the Orwell prize for journalism.
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.
Beginning with her solitary childhood in London, it took years for Melanie Phillips to understand her parents’ emotional frailties and even longer to escape from them. But Phillips inherited her family’s strong Jewish values and a passionate commitment to freedom from oppression. It was this moral foundation that ultimately turned her against the warped and tyrannical attitudes of the Left, requiring her to break away not only from her parents—but also from the people she had seen as her wider political family.
Through her poignant story of transformation and separation, we gain insight into the political uproar that has engulfed the West. Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the rise of far-Right political parties in Europe, and the stunning election of US president Donald Trump all involve a revolt against the elites by millions. It is these disdained masses who have been championed by Melanie Phillips in a career as prescient as it has been provocative.
Guardian Angel is not only an affecting personal story, but it provides a vital explanation why the West is at a critical crossroads today.
“Melanie Phillips has been one of the brave and necessary voices of our time, unafraid to speak the language of moral responsibility in an age of obfuscation and denial. This searing account of her personal journey is compelling testimony to her courage in speaking truth to power.”—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks