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NBC Insider The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Get the First Look at The Tattooist of Auschwitz Event Series on Peacock, Starring Harvey Keitel

Executive Producer Claire Mundell says the book adaptation is "a story that is as important today as it ever was.”

By Jax Miller
Harvey Keitel and Melanie Lynskey in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, a six-part event series based on the bestselling novel of the same name, is coming to NBC’s Peacock.

What is The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

Premiering May 2, 2024, the series stars Harvey Keitel, Melanie Lynskey, and Jonah Hauer-King and is based on the 2017 novel by Heather Morris. The Tattooist of Auschwitz tells an unforgettable love story forged from the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust, inspired by the real-life events of survivors Lali (Hauer-King) and Gita Sokolov.

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz Jonah Hauer King 1

In 1942, Lali arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau and was made to be one of the infamous prison camp’s "tätowierer" (tattooist) upon arrival. Charged with tattooing his fellow prisoners’ arms with identification numbers, Lali experienced love at first sight when meeting Gita (Anna Próchniak), each inspiring the other another to survive the horrors of the concentration camp, often under the watchful eye of volatile Nazi SS officer Baretzki (Jonas Nay).

What developed between the couple was a “courageous, unforgettable, and human story” as told decades later by the recently widowed Lali (Keitel) to writer Heather Morris (Lynskey), according to the series’ press release.

Jonah Hauer-King and Anna Prochniak in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is produced by Synchronicity Films’ Claire Mundell, Sky Studios’ Serena Thompson, and written by Jacquelin Perske.

Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom-Ezer directs.

Here’s why The Tattooist of Auschwitz is important

Mundell said it was “important” to have Jewish actors portray the roles of both young and old Lali, adding that Keitel (The Piano, Pulp Fiction) and Hauer-King (The Little Mermaid, A Dog’s Way Home) delivered the parts with "nuance, empathy, compassion, and the complexity that we need from that character.” Hauer-King and Polish actress Anna Próchniak (as Gita) give “career-defining performances,” Mundell continued.

Jonah Hauer-King in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

As for the role of Heather Morris, Lynskey had the “innate empathy, inquisitiveness, and openness” to play Morris’s relationship with Lali.

"Her role and relationship with Lali within the series is a clear example of how the screen adaptation differs from the book, as we’re framing the story from Lali’s real meetings with Heather in his Melbourne apartment. Lali unburdens to her what he can, but as he increasingly begins to trust Heather, he shares the full horrors of the trauma he still suffers as an elderly survivor.  Being introduced by a mutual acquaintance, they met over coffee and then proceeded to spend the next three years developing a relationship. I'm not sure if either of them realized at the beginning, but clearly what began is the telling of Lali’s and Gita's beautiful love story," Mundell said.

“We began developing this story five years ago, and I was struck by how the book became a bestseller during a time when awareness of the Holocaust was in decline. Our series tells one man’s story and experience of Auschwitz and how he found love in the darkest of places. It is a story that is as important today as it ever was.”

Harvey Keitel in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

Director Shalom-Ezer said it was a “huge challenge” to convince audiences that a love like Lali and Gita’s could come from such a horrific era.

“Claire and I talked about what a huge challenge it was going to be to make viewers believe in a love story that existed in this dark place and time,” said Shalom-Ezer. “This was the task that I, as director, Claire, Jacquelin, and our team took upon ourselves, and I pray that we will be able to make viewers around the world believe in the wonderful love story of Lali and Gita.”

How to watch

The Tattooist of Auschwitz’s six episodes premiere May 2, 2024, on Peacock. Its international release in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will be available on Sky Atlantic and NOW.