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NBC Insider The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Meet The Cast of Peacock’s Original Drama, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Harvey Keitel and Melanie Lynskey lead a group of international rising stars in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

By Grace Jidoun

Delivering a uniquely riveting take on the horrors of the Holocaust, the six-part series The Tattooist of Auschwitz, coming to Peacock on May 2, follows the story of two young prisoners, Lali and Gita, who fall in love under dire circumstances.

War movies pose special challenges to actors, who must bring authenticity to complicated characters while taking viewers through the most gut-wrenching and evocative scenes. What’s more, Lali’s story as an Auschwitz tätowierer, charged with inking the infamous serial numbers into prisoners' arms, unspools over sixty years, requiring two actors to take on the same role at different ages.

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

It's no wonder the filmmakers assembled a powerful cast for this Peacock limited series, one that combines exciting new actors with familiar faces. However, one thing they all have in common is experience bringing real-life World War II history to the screen.

Here, we take a closer look at the cast of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Jonah Hauer-King (Young Lali)

Lali Sokolov in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

Whether it’s period dramas or singing love songs for Ariel, Hauer-King has a penchant for characters that tug on the heartstrings. Before the young British actor was the dashing Prince Eric in Disney's live-action version of The Little Mermaid, he turned in a moving performance as a Jewish violin prodigy in the 2019 Holocaust drama The Song of Names. He played the younger version of his character Dovidl — just as he portrays the younger version of Lali in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Since making his debut at the Edenborough Film Festival just seven years ago — in The Last Photograph — the 28-year-old has landed memorable roles in Ashes in Snow, the British WWII miniseries World on Fire, and most notably as the charming and cheeky Laurie Lawrence in BBC’s 2017 adaptation of Little Women.

Harvey Keitel (Elder Lali)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz Teaser Trailer

Harvey Keitel is a Hollywood institution that’s been around long enough to have both Taxi Driver (1976) and Lansky (2021) under his belt, the latter depicting a real-life Jewish gangster in the run-up to World War II. At 84 years old — with literally the same number of movies to his name — he’s never one to pass up a meaty role, always bringing a lot of compassion and heart to whatever he’s in.

As the elder Lali in The Tattooist of Auschwitz, he reflects on his haunting memories of the concentration camp to writer Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey), the real-life author of the novel the Peacock series is based on. For peak tough guy swagger, catch Keitel in Spike Lee’s Clockers, Scorsese’s The Irishman, Imaginary Crimes, or First We Take Brooklyn.

Melanie Lynskey (Heather Morris)

Heather Morris and Lali Sokolov in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

Melanie Lynskey’s roles always land squarely in the must-watch category — precisely because she portrays complex female characters with quiet ferocity. In the postapocalyptic epic, The Last of Us, she’s a revolutionary leader who overthrows a military operation. In the psychological thriller Yellowjackets, she’s a plane crash survivor with haunted memories. And we can’t forget she’s the one who held Charlie Sheen captive in a basement for four years as his girlfriend Rose in Two and a Half Men.

Not one to be stereotyped, her range is impressive, from rom-com classics like Sweet Home Alabama to World War II epics like Flags of Our Fathers. In The Tattooist of Auschwitz, she plays another formidable woman: real-life novelist Heather Morris, who coaxes the story out of Lali.

Anna Próchniak (Gita)

Lali Sokolov and Gita Furman in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

As Gita in The Tattooist, she meets Lali for the first time as he’s tattooing an identification number on her arm — and brings her signature quiet intensity to their story of doomed love.

Well-known in her native Poland and across Europe, the former ballerina is a relative newcomer to American audiences, with The Tattooist of Auschwitz marking her first major role in a U.S. production. The 30-year-old actress captivated audiences in the Icelandic film Vultures and as a young nun in the Oscar-nominated French film The Innocents, a WWII-era story adapted from the real-life diaries of a French Red Cross doctor.

In 2014, Próchniak received Elle Magazine’s Rising Star award for her acting in Warsaw 44, a cinematic rendition of the historical Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when a Polish underground force launched an assault against the Nazis.

Jonas Nay (SS Officer Baretzki)

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz Lali Sokolov Stefan Baretzki

The German actor and musician shook up international audiences as the star of the Cold War spy thriller Deutschland 83 and its sequels, Deutschland 86 and Deutschland 89. The series broke new ground as the first German show to air on an American network, SundanceTV. In Britain, it earned the title of the most-watched foreign-language drama ever. Nay seems effortless as series protagonist, Martin Rauch (code name: Hummingbird), an East German soldier who becomes an undercover agent for the Iron Curtain.

We can’t think of a better role to prepare him for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, where he portrays another soldier: volatile SS officer Stefan Baretzki. Nay seems to always find himself in the middle of a war zone. Other credits include Line of Separation, a period drama exploring fascism in Germany during World War II.

Watch all six episodes of The Tattooist of Auschwitz when it premieres on Peacock on May 2.