Her beauty saved her life - and condemned her.
Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and taught new skills. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.
Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
'She was the bravest person I ever met' Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz
About Heather Morris
Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who 'might just have a story worth telling'. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives, as their friendship grew and he embarked on a journey on self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale's story as a screenplay - which ranked high in international competitions - before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
A sincere...moving attempt to speak the unspeakable. The Sunday Times
What an extraordinary and important book this is. We need as many memories of the Holocaust as we can retain, and this is a moving and ultimately uplifting story of love, loyalties and friendship amidst the horrors of w ar. I'm so glad Lale and Gita were eventually able to live long and happy lives together, and thankful that Heather Morris was moved to record their incredible story. It's a triumph. Jill Mansell
Extraordinary - moving, confronting and uplifting . . . a story about the extremes of human behaviour: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I recommend it unreservedly. Graeme Simsion
A touching and redemptive tale of love and selflessness. Times Literary