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From Poland to Melbourne, the ‘Tattooist of Auschwitz’ shares his angst

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Published: 18 January 2018

Last updated: 4 March 2024

FOR MORE THAN 50 years, Lale Sokolov lived with a secret - one born in the horrors of wartime Europe, in a place that witnessed some of the worst of man's inhumanity to man.

It would not be shared until he was in his 80s, thousands of miles from that place.
Lale had been the Tattooist of Auschwitz.

"This man, the tattooist from the most infamous concentration camp, kept his secret safe in the mistaken belief that he had something to hide," says Heather Morris, who spent three years recording Lale's story before he died in 2006.

She has now written a book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, based on how he tattooed a serial number on the arms of those at the camp who weren't sent to the gas chambers.
"The horrors of surviving nearly three years in a concentration camp left him with a lifetime of fear and paranoia," she says. "The story took three years to untangle. I had to earn his trust and it took time before he was willing to embark on the deep self-scrutiny that parts of his story required."

The book will be launched at the Sydney Jewish Museum on March 4

FULL STORY The Tattooist of Auschwitz - and his secret love (BBC)

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