Published by Bonnier Publishing Australia on January 27th 2018
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I’m gutted reading this book. I had a family member who was a Holocaust survivor and this book hit close to home. There are not many survivors left in the world which is why I am glad that books like this exist.
“To Save one is to save the world.”
This book is based on a true story. I always love books based on true stories. In many ways, I think they are the best kind. I also love the pictures of Lane and Gita Sokolov. Lane told his story over the course of three years to the Author. Lane became the Tatowierer “Tattooist” of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Being the tattooist gives him special perks – more rations, better sleeping conditions, ability to move around the camp more freely. He also was able to exchange the money and prized possessions of those who died in the gas chambers for food and medicine. He was generous and provided for many. He saved lives and I wonder how many survived due to him acquiring medicine and extra food for them.
While giving a tattoo, he meets Gita and feels an instant attraction to her. This book is not only a book about survival during the bleakest of times, it is about triumph of the human spirit, about being pushed to the breaking point but never breaking, about love, about compassion for others, about hope, about losing your faith and about never losing your faith. It also shows brutality, hatred, and evil but what I hope people take away is the compassion, strength, dignity and resilience that Lane and so many others named in this book showed. This book is about a lot of things but mainly one man’s inner strength which allowed him to go on, to never give up, to have compassion for others, who risked his life many times to help others. During the darkest times, there will always be those who shine and Lane Sokolov was one of those.
Like many survivors, Lane and Gita moved around until they found their place in Australia, began a family and lead a happy and successful life. Lane proved to have “nine lives” and I was happy to see that he was able to prosper and be reconnected with Gita after the war.
I thought this book was well written and I was sucked me into Lane’s world. Although there are scenes of violence and murder/killings, they are not incredibly graphic. With any book dealing with the Holocaust, you know it is going to be sad and scenes are going pull at your heartstrings. This one will as well. I think most will really enjoy this book and hopefully learn a few things. For instance, I always thought the tattoos were put on using crude tattoo machines/guns similar to the one used when I got a tattoo. I was wrong. I wonder did Lane give Ma her tattoo? Who knows.?
I think reading the Author’s note at the end of the book is beneficial. Again, there are pictures of Lane and Gita there. It was nice to put faces with the names. When reading books such as this, I think most readers will wonder, could they have survived. I believe most of us will never know what we are capable of until we are placed to the test. God willing, none of us are ever placed to this test.
I received a copy of this book from Bonner Publishing Australia and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.