‘Errors’ in Holocaust love story
A New Zealand author has come under fire for ‘‘inconsistent’’ and ‘‘exaggerated’’ facts in her bestselling novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
The Auschwitz Memorial, in its historical fact-checking review in November, claimed Heather Morris did not verify some of the facts in her novel despite the academic literature being publicly available.
Morris told Sunday News her novel is based on Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov’s personal recollection and experience, and ‘‘it is not an official history’’.
However, the Auschwitz Memorial said the book contained ‘‘numerous errors and information inconsistent with the facts, as well as exaggerations, misinterpretations, and understatements on which the overall unauthentic picture of the camp’s reality is built’’.
The Memorial told The Guardian that it decided to fact-check the book because it presented as ‘‘based on a true story’’ and most readers ‘‘do not have enough knowledge to distinguish facts and fictions here’’.
Morris’ book is about Sokolov who finds love with a girl named Gita Furman he was tattooing in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
‘‘I am deeply honoured that Lale Sokolov chose to share his memories with me. For three years I listened as he spoke of his love for his wife, Gita . . . of their survival in that terrible place, and of the subsequent life they spent together,’’ she said.
‘‘I have carried that story for many years more, attempting faithfully and respectfully to capture its emotional weight and significance, and to fulfil my promise to Lale that his story would be told.’’
The Auschwitz Memorial’s six-page review found incorrect routes taken to the concentration camp and rooms on the premises, the number given to Gita (34902), the fact she was given pendecillin, and her camp fate, and concluded that the book should ‘‘be perceived as an impression devoid of documentary value on the topic of Auschwitz, only inspired by authentic events’’.
Morris said Sokolov had read a draft of the screenplay based on her novel before he died and that he ‘‘was happy with what I had written’’.