Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Date Read: December 30, 2020
There are tattoos that people decide to get because they hold meaning to them. There are also tattoos imprinted on people without their consent. Their meaning is beyond the ink that is crudely etched on their skin; lasting reminders of hate.
Martin Luther King Jr., said that: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This is a story of love that vanquished the darkness.
The atrocities of the Nazis during the second World War are innumerable. Reading this book in the current political climate surrounding us in the United States, it also illuminates the use of dehumanization in the name of hate. Dehumanization is a mental loophole that lets us harm other people; it was present when the Nazis convinced the political soldiers (SS) to conduct unethical medical experiments; physical and mental torture; and worst of all, mass genocide. How we judge others and make inferences about them is fundamentally a social process. Dehumanization is the same tool Trump used throughout his presidency to explain away treatment of immigrants; banning of Muslim travellers; his misyoginst remarks about women; or just a general mailgning of anyone in opposition to him.
The Tattooist at the heart of this story saw the human person in everyone he encountered. Tasked with placing an identifying tattoo at prisoners arriving in Auschwitz, he tried to be as gentle as he could and when his job brought him priviledges, he shared them with the friends he had made in the camp. He falls in love helping a young woman in the camp– and theirs is a remarkable love story that champions against all odds.