The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Episode 3

Episode 3 of The Tattooist of Auschwitz begins back in the camps. Lali helps an inmate – we don’t see who it is from this angle but we’re led to believe it’s Gita – out of the barracks. He promises that things will be okay as they groan in discomfort. The scene then zooms in on a young Jewish prisoner, whom we later learn is called Leon, before cutting back to the present.

In the present, Gita’s friends, including Ivana and Hanna, hide Gita inside the clothing warehouse and try to help her, as we soon learn that her cut is very much infected.

Lali happens to be in his room and he takes contraband from under the floorboards and stuffs it in his bunk. This is all the gold and jewellery he’s been getting from Gita. Baretzki shows and sees him, pointing out that he’s late. Baretzki refuses to disclose what’s happened to Gita and, even worse, Papen is apparently gone too. He now needs to pick another tattooist.

Lali shows up and after seeing a poor kid beaten to the ground, decides to give him a way out. The kid refuses to disclose much information, and keeps himself to himself, wondering just why Lali is trying to help him. The man is taken through to the processing plant, where masses of inmates are taken into the camps while jovial music plays. It’s a horrific contradiction of tones, and in some ways it makes everything all the more sadistic.

Lali oversteps his mark and asks Baretzki about Gita, calling over across the plant. Knowing that his superior could hurt hm badly for this, Baretzki throws a chair at Lali’s head to keep up appearances. It turns out this man alongside him is a musician called Leon. Lali gives Leon sound advice, and in doing so, the main confirms his name.

It turns out he’s gay as well, which makes sense as we actually saw this foreshadowed during the opening parts of the episode. The two men sitting on the beach of Melbourne cuddling and laughing; it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come as a planet for LGBTQ+ rights. A subtle inclusion and an excellent way to insert this message.

Anyway, after his shift Lali sneaks into the women’s camp in a bid to find Gita. He learns from her superior (whom he bribes once more) where Gita is located. She’s taken out of the warehouse and brought back to her bunk, where Lali sees first-hand that she is not in a good way.

The barracks though are now overrun with extra families – gypsies to be precise – and Lali finds that his humanity is slowly starting to slip away. He catches a couple of kids going through his floorboards and he reprimands them. Thankfully, he finds the contraband inside his bunk, right where he left it and he breathes a sigh of relief.

In the morning, Leon is beaten down by the Nazi officer overseeing him, but Lali watches as this man has no fear. Despite taking a massive beating and having blood oozing from his mouth, Leon keeps a stiff upper-lip and keeps on fighting.

Leon and Lali are tasked with visiting the “hospital”, where they tattoo the new inmates inside. Screams ring out, but Leon begins humming as a way of trying to quell their concerns as he tattoos. The SS Officer inside one of the rooms steps out and looks at him with a chilling expression on his face, but thankfully he doesn’t take any further action. This little touch does help those inmates and this little time inside the hospital, seems like the prime excuse for Lali to get some supplies for Gita.

After getting what he needs, he heads to the women’s camp, throws the medicine over to one of Gita’s fellow inmates and it seems to help her recover.

However, what Lali actually had to do to get that medicine is far more horrific than the story he’s spun so far for Heather. She promises to hear him out and offers a reassuring touch on the shoulder for good measure. So what did Lali do?

Well, it turns out the nurse initially refused to help, but speaking to the SS officer – the one who stared at Leon earlier – he asks outright for the medicine. In order to get that though, he has to do a favour or the doctor. Specifically, taking the women out into the yard, where they’re left alone, naked. The fences have been switched off, and while they all huddle together and freeze, he’s given the medicine in exchange. These women? They’re being “disposed of” (the doctor’s words) in the morning.

Alone, Baretzki speaks to Lali and points out that he knows about the contraband and what he’s doing to survive. He wants in and, specifically, he wants cigarettes and other gear. Lali tries to negotiate but gets a slap to the face for his troubles instead. He’s also warned that something could happen to Gita if he doesn’t play ball.

When Lali sees her later that day, she looks much better and he closes his eyes, happy that she’s at least on the mend.

When he sees her again, the pair immediately get down to business. As these two have a good bond together, this glimmer of happiness helps Lali focus and now, he turns his attention to Nadya. She comments how he’s good with kids and in exchange, he apologizes for shouting at the pair earlier in the week. Nadya’s own children didn’t survive the journey here but she’s seen it as a blessing that they didn’t see this camp first-hand. As the pair talk, Lali explains that she reminds him of his sister, and this helps to tie their bond closer together.

Midway through tattooing, Leon is pulled aside by the “hospital” doctor who tells him he’s needed. Lali tries to take his place but apparently it’s not “that sort of work”. The implication here is that it’s sexual favours but the reality is far worse than that. It turns out, the doctor fried Leon’s balls and cut them off completely.

It’s a horrible revelation, and something that Lali has carried with him all this time. He bemoans the way people can do such barbaric acts to others. Th grim reality here of course, is that millions would still be alive today had this not happened.

Unfortunately, things take a horrible turn when Lali returns to his room that afternoon. Baretzki is there, along with several other officers, and they notice the jewellery contraband. They have it all lined up on the bed, and all Lali can do is shut his eyes and pray that he won’t be killed…

The Episode Review

Uh oh, Lali is in serious trouble now that his secret has been uncovered. Quite how he’s going to come out of this in one piece is anyone’s guess. However, we don’t know the full story yet and there could be a way for him to get out of this. We’ll have to wait and see.

However we do learn more about the horrific practices inside Auschwitz, including how the evil SS doctor has just left these women outside to freeze, while also torturing Leon in such a barbaric way. It leaves everything on a precarious note going forward, especially as we now know that Lali really doesn’t have anyone he can count on here – unless you point to Gita of course, who’s the one bright spark in Lali’s life.

Either way, everything is left on a precarious knife edge for the rest of the season.

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1 thought on “The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review”

  1. Any idea what language the discarded woman is yelling and what she is saying when Lali walks by the fence after he’s received the medicine for Gita?

    It sounds like Anakat but I haven’t been able to find any info about it.

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