“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis [Heather Morris]

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TitleThe Tattooist of Auschwitz
AuthorHeather Morris
Publication Year2018
GenreHistorical Fiction, Holocaust
No. of Pages288 pages
SettingAuschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, World War II


The main characters of novel “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris are:

  1. Lale Sokolov – He’s the main character. He’s a guy from Slovakia who becomes the person responsible for giving prisoners their numbers in the concentration camp.
  2. Gita Furman – She’s a girl Lale falls in love with in the camp. She’s from the same town as Lale and they support each other through the hard times.
  3. Cilka Klein – She’s another girl in the camp. She’s tough and resourceful, and she becomes friends with Lale.


The themes of novel “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris are:

  1. Love in Hard Times – The book shows how love can thrive even in the darkest of circumstances.
  2. Survival and Resilience – It explores the strength and determination of people to survive and overcome challenges.
  3. Hope Amidst Despair – The characters hold onto hope despite the harsh reality of the concentration camp.
  4. Friendship and Solidarity – The story highlights the bonds people form in difficult situations to support each other.
  5. Humanity in Inhuman Conditions – It reveals acts of kindness and compassion in a place marked by cruelty.


“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris tells the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish man sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

Lale becomes the person who tattoos identification numbers on prisoners’ arms. Amid the harshness of the camp, he meets Gita, a fellow prisoner, and they fall in love.

The book follows their struggle for survival, their love story, and their determination to stay together despite the terrible conditions. It’s a powerful and emotional tale of love and hope in the midst of one of history’s darkest times.


The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is based on the real-life experiences of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who escaped the Holocaust. The tale of his love for Gita as well as how they overcame several challenges together, is told in the book. As a “tattooist” in Auschwitz, Lale tattoos numbers instead of names on the forearm of the prisoners to brand them as property devoid of humanity or identity. Despite their chances of surviving there, he falls in love with Gita while working at Auschwitz.

The Holocaust is seen through the prism of Lale. Despite being under a dehumanizing system, he never loses his humanity. Lale’s moral character is at odds with his participation in the Holocaust since he tattoos other Jews and aids in their murder. But by delaying their execution, he also spares their lives from being taken instantly.

Lale uses his position to procure illegal things and barter them for food and medicine. Lale’s decisions demonstrate how morality may shift in times of hardship. People have a tremendous will to survive, creating a moral obligation.

The story opens on a train carrying Jewish inmates to an unidentified destination. The inmates are exhausted, thirsty, and hungry, which worsens as the journey continues. They all seek Lale’s wisdom and counsel since they know he can be relied on in tough times. Aron, in particular, is a prisoner who significantly depends on him.

Lale, the main character, is sent to Auschwitz. During his first night at Auschwitz, he especially visits the Auschwitz Two Birkenau labor camp. During this period, he witnessed the murder of two individuals by SS guards. This scene will stay with him forever, and it is one of several that mold his character throughout the novel.

Lale gradually adjusts to the everyday grind and tragedy of life in Birkenau. Lale faints and catches typhus after watching a busload of nude convicts gassed. When he awakens a week later, Pepan, the tattooist at Birkenau, looks after him. Aron saved Lale by delivering him to Pepan but at the cost of his own life.

Lale detests tattooing, yet he accepts the job since it allows him to make ends meet. Before the girl enters the prison, he has her name tattooed on his chest after falling in love with her.

Lale takes over as the primary tattoo artist when Pepan vanishes. A nasty SS commander named Baretski, who oversees him, randomly chooses an assistant for him. Even though they only get to spend a little time together on Sundays, they immediately fall in love and start dating. Additionally, they develop friendships with Victor & his son Yuri, two Polish people. 

With the aid of these connections, they launch a new business enterprise in which they use goods to bribe the Poles into bringing them food, which they can then share with other prisoners to help them survive during this trying time in their lives; this enables Gita to live when she contracts typhus because Lale can get her penicillin thanks to one of the connections that he established with the Poles.

During World War II, Lale, a Jew, lived in Nazi-occupied Poland. He deals with the Germans and is known for his outstanding tattooing, although occasionally, this gets him into problems. He is eventually apprehended by SS officers, who seize all of his belongings and transport him to be tortured. They chop off Lale’s ear as a punishment for engaging with the enemy and brand him on his face. However, Cilka aids in Lale’s recovery for him to reclaim his role as the Nazis’ top tattooist at the Plaszow concentration camp.


What is the main message of The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

The main message of “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” is about finding love, hope, and humanity even in the darkest of times, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit during the Holocaust.

What happens at the end of Tattooist of Auschwitz?

Lale and Gita survive Auschwitz, marry after the war, and build a life together. Their story illustrates love’s resilience amid the horrors of the Holocaust.

What do flowers symbolize in The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

Flowers symbolize moments of hope, beauty, and human connection amid the darkness and cruelty of the concentration camp, offering small glimpses of solace and resilience.

What is the religion in The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

The characters in “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” are primarily Jewish, and the story revolves around their experiences during the Holocaust in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

About the Author-Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Full NameHeather Morris
BirthNot specified in available information
NationalityNew Zealand
Notable WorkThe Tattooist of Auschwitz
Writing StyleHistorical fiction, based on true events

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