The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Season 1, Episodes 1-6

NZ release: 06 May 2024

Content that may disturb, cruelty, offensive language, violence Rated on: 06 May 2024

The Tattooist of Auschwitz poster

What’s it about?

Based on the novel of the same name, this is the powerful real-life story of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner who was tasked with tattooing ID numbers on prisoners' arms in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War Two.

The facts

  • Directed by Tali Shalom Ezer
  • English language with some Slovak and German
  • Runtime: ~50 minutes per episode
  • Based on a novel by New Zealand author Heather Morris

Why did it get this rating?

This series was self-rated by Neon. You can find out more about self-rating by streaming providers here.

Content that may disturb

The re-telling of a Jewish survivor’s experience living through World War Two is an emotional journey as the character shares stories with the narrator in present day Australia. The dark, grey flashback scenes are contrasted often with the bright, sunny present day which helps to break up the tone and sad stories shared.

Flashbacks are shown from the prisoner’s point of view which gives an intimate and close-up experience of the events in the camp. Furnace chimneys constantly produce smoke from the incinerators where people are being killed. We don’t see these acts taking place but we see the smoke stacks in almost every episode.

We see non-sexual nudity as prisoners are stripped naked, and are extremely skinny from malnutrition. In a highly emotional scene we see a prisoner go into labour and give birth under the cover of night, while trying to not make a lot of noise so they don’t draw attention to the baby. The scene is dimly lit and we don’t see graphic detail of the labour. The baby is born healthy and well.

We see characters self-sacrifice, putting themselves forward for execution in an attempt to spare the lives of their friends and family. In one scene a person suicides by running at an electric fence. We briefly see them being electrocuted.

Cruelty

The series has an ever-present sense of fear and terror as we see flashbacks to conditions and experiences in a concentration camp. People are readily killed, often without warning.

Some prisoners are forced into helping with the administration of the camp. This creates feelings of guilt, providing an opportunity to live while others die.

There are acts of cruelty towards women and children, where the defenceless and vulnerable are beaten or made to live in awful conditions. Children are separated from their parents and loaded onto the backs of trucks, transported away and never seen again.

People are starved and become emaciated. We see characters made to watch other prisoners in the camp being executed.

Violence

People are killed by gunshots and by beatings throughout the series. In a line up we see prisoners executed by headshots and we see blood splatter on the wall behind them.

In another scene a defenceless prisoner is beaten in the face with the butt of a gun. We see his bloodied face before he falls face-first into the mud and is left to die.

There is a mention of medical sterilisation done on a male prisoner.

Offensive language

Strong language is occasionally used throughout. This includes “f**k”, “sh*t”, and racist slurs to dehumanise Jews and Romani peoples.

Helplines:

Further information

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