I tattooed a number on her arm.
She tattooed her name on my heart
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tatttooed, 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 was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this women, Gita, did too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the Tattooist of Auschwitz.
As you can see this little book is a bit dog eared because so many of us around the office have wanted to read it. Having bought my son a copy for Christmas he said I had to read it and I am so glad I did.
Lale was born Ludvig Eisenberg in October 1916 in Krompachy, Slovakia. He was transported to Auschwitz on 23rd April 1942 and tattooed with the number 32407. Gita was born Gisela Fuhrmannova (Furman) in March 1925 in Vranov nad Topl'ou, Slovakia. She was transported to Auschwitz on 13th April 1942 and tattooed with the number 34902 and was re-tattooed by Lale when she transferred from Auschwitz to Birkenhau in July 1942.
It is unimaginable what happened to Lale & Gita over the next three years but throughout their time in the camp they stayed strong for each other. Lale made a promise to himself the day he arrived that he would survive this place and after falling in love with Gita he promised he would make sure she would survive the camp too so that she could become his wife.
I know reading stories from the Holocaust would put people off but the way in which Heather Morris re tells Lale Sokolov's account is more about their love story and when faced with adversity how they stayed strong for each other.
It is still incomprehensible to me that anyone could treat a fellow human being in such a way as the SS did in the camps. I wish I could say this was a brilliantly written book of fiction but sadly it is a true story as told by Lale himself. with Heather Morris as his facilitator to get their love story told and I would definitely recommend it.