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The Ghost Tattoo by Tony Bernard 

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For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Watchmakers, a powerful, profoundly moving Holocaust memoir from a rarely told perspective—the story of a son’s quest to understand his father, a heroic, complicated Jewish survivor—and to uncover the hidden past and desperate choices he made when the Nazis recruited him to police his own people in their Polish ghetto.

The Ghost Tattoo is a breathtakingly poignant exploration of a Holocaust survivor’s journey, adding a rare and compelling dimension to the narrative of resilience and the human spirit in the face of unimaginable horror. Tony Bernard’s eloquent storytelling captures the complexities of his father Henry’s experiences, both as a victim and an unwitting participant in the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

Growing up, Tony Bernard knew that his father, Henry, had been in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He was familiar with the tattoo bearing his Auschwitz number—B1224—and the faint scar resulting from a suicide attempt while in a camp in Blizyn. As an Australian boy growing up on Sydney’s sunny Northern Beaches, where Henry was a well-respected doctor, Tony simply accepted these facts. Only as a young man, on a trip to Poland with his father, did he begin to uncover the secrets that filled Henry with regret, anguish, and guilt.

“This extraordinary narrative is a powerful instance of the transgenerational impact of the Holocaust, but, above all, a remarkable examination of the position of a Ghetto Policeman and the guilt he carried, if he survived, into later life.” —Thomas Keneally, New York Times bestselling author of Schindler’s List

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