The Tattooist of Auschwitz: Where is the Peacock Show Filmed?

Adapted from the 2018 eponymous holocaust novel written by the New Zealand author Heather Morris, Peacock’s ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ is a historical war drama series that takes us back in time to the Second World War, focusing on a Jewish man named Lale or Lali Sokolov who gets sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. As he is forced to stay in a kill factory, he takes up the job of tattooing numbers onto his fellow prisoners’ arms in the hopes of surviving. But when he tattoos Gita’s arm with her prisoner number 4562 and gets to know her, he manages to find a hint of bliss amidst the hellish environment.

As the two fall in love with each other at first sight, Lali’s will to survive and live his life is renewed. Thanks to the manipulation of an SS guard, Baretzki, Lali is able to get in touch with Gita again. However, there is some serious risk involved in his attempts at keeping both of them alive. The historical tale of love and war is brought to life by the compelling performances of a talented bunch of actors, including Harvey Keitel, Melanie Lynskey, Jonah Hauer-King, and Anna Próchniak. The story unfolds primarily in the Auschwitz concentration camp, which in itself plays the role of a character in the series.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz Shooting Locations

Before the commencement of production, a portion of the crew members of ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ traveled to several European countries to find a suitable filming site and decided to settle on Slovakia, especially Bratislava. According to reports, principal photography for the inaugural iteration of the historical series took place in the spring of 2023 for about three months, from February to May.

Bratislava, Slovakia

The cast and crew members of ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ tape pivotal sequences in and around Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, as they recreate the setting of World War II and the Auschwitz concentration camp. Having found a disused red brick sugar factory in the city of Bratislava with the same kind of windows as the ones in the Auschwitz camp, the makers finalized the location and began the shooting process. It is reported that throughout the filming process of the debut season, the production team maintained sensitivity and respect as they referred to the real blueprints and maps of the concentration camp to design the set accurately and as authentically as possible.

Given the trauma and pain associated with the subject matter of ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz, mental health support was reportedly present in all stages of production of season 1. The filming unit created a supportive and safe environment for each other where they could share their feelings openly. One of the directors, Tali Shalom-Ezer, who is also the co-executive producer of the show, was asked if he had struggled with shooting any particular scene in an interview with Televisual.

He revealed that it had to be the death march scene. “It was freezing cold. I was able to wear my big coat and stand close to a heater, while the supporting artists had to perform in the cold. They had to look as though they had been in a concentration camp: naked, cold, crying. Humiliated by the guards. I was grateful for their commitment to the show and honoring the integrity of storytelling,” he explained. During a conversation with Sky, Jonas Nay, who plays the role of Stefan Baretzki in the historical series, talked about his hardest scene to shoot.

Jonas revealed, “There was one scene in particular that I was afraid of from day one. I was doing a very sadistic thing to Lali. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Lali doesn’t react as Baretzki expected him to and so Baretzki has a tantrum, grabs a child and covers the child’s mouth and nose so he can’t breathe. I was afraid of giving the child actor nightmares so I asked if I could meet him beforehand. I turned the whole thing into a game – he also covered my mouth and nose in rehearsal – and hopefully, the scene wasn’t so overwhelming for him. The first time I walked on set in a Nazi uniform was awful too. There was no escaping the fact that I was a German playing a Nazi who did abhorrent things.”

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