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The Ghost Tattoo

Discovering the hidden truth of my father's Holocaust

Tony Bernard



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Allen & Unwin
01 March 2022
To the outside world, Henry Bernard was a hard-working and beloved family doctor on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Yet he was also a Holocaust survivor whose life was profoundly affected by the experiences of his past. He took extreme steps for his family's security, keeping a rifle near his bedroom and covering up his family's Jewish origin. He was obsessed with paying off debt - the German word for debt being the same as the word for 'guilt'. He kept his striped Auschwitz uniform with a picture of his mother in his wardrobe. These obsessions helped destroy his marriage and restricted any hope he had of conventional domestic happiness.

But Henry had a bigger secret and a deeper shame about what he had done during the war. He suffered privately until he began returning to Germany and Poland to confront his past and come to terms with the deaths of his parents and of Halina, the love of his life.

The Ghost Tattoo is the story of how Tony Bernard, Henry's eldest son, went on a forty-year journey with his father to solve the mystery of why Henry was the way he was, and how he finally came to understand the desperate choices Henry had made in the ghetto to try to keep himself and his family alive.
 The Ghost Tattoo: Discovering the hidden truth of my father's Holocaust

Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   475g
ISBN:   9781761065415
ISBN 10:   1761065416
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tony Bernard is an accident and emergency doctor at the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney. He followed his father Henry into the medical profession. Henry was his hero. Yet it was one thing to idolise his father, and another to understand who he was and what he had gone through. Shortly before Henry's death in 2016, Tony recorded his father's memoirs and collaborated with the Jewish museum in Sydney to produce a document for the Bernard family. But it uncovered new details of an extraordinary holocaust survival story.

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