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In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and "Italian citizen of Jewish race," was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi''s deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Survival In Auschwitz written by legendary author Primo Levi is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. In the year 1943, a young chemist of Italian citizenship and Jewish race was arrested by a group of Italian fascists and deported to Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp. As I worked my way through the beginning of his autobiography, he addressed some familiar aspects that most of us know about the beginning of the horrid journey for Jews and others.
Levi goes ahead to describe the process of separation of man from woman, sick from well, and old from young as the people left the confines of the train transports that had held them captive for the whole of the journey from Italy to Poland. Levi went on to describe the layout of the camp as well as the protocol, along with other skills in order to survive the harsh labor and constant presence of death breathing down the prisoner’s necks. Over a good portion of the book, Levi describes quite vividly the unsanitary conditions of the camp, and his decision to give up trying to pointlessly clean himself with the turbid water within the washbasins provided for the prisoners. Reading Primo Levi’s book, made me feel like I was reading his own personal diary or journal, and in a way I guess we all are when we read it. This entry was posted in auschwitz, FSEM: History of Genocide, genocides14, Holocaust, Jewish Genocide, primo levi, Survival in Auschwitz on February 11, 2014 by Arralyn Smith.
Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi's classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance.
The young chemist by the name of Primo Levi survived the horrors of the camp and eventually wrote his autobiography based on his account of his 10 months spent in Auschwitz. When he was deemed fit enough for work he was sent, with 96 other men to a labor camp that was part of Auschwitz called Monowitz-Buna. There comes a point where Levi recounts his and his fellow prisoner sense of hopelessness that seems to begin to rob them of any forceable future that they might have hoped for in the beginning. He writes in a way that almost makes you feel like you are going through what he went through with him, side by side but then at the end of the book, you realize you were never there and that he was alone throughout the whole of it. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint, compassion, and even wit, Survival in Auschwitz remains a lasting testament to the indestructibility of the human spirit.
I cultivated a moderate and abstract sense of rebellion.It had been by no means easy to flee into the mountains and to help set up what, both in my opinion and in that of friends little more experienced than myself, should have become a partisan band affiliated with the Resistance movement Justice and Liberty.

Even Levi''s most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children''s washing hung out in the wind to dry.
Primo Levi’s poetic words describing the discomfort of the human beings crushed together within a small, confined space was in a sense almost philosophical in the way I read into it. The way Primo Levi describes the hopelessness of the situation really caught me off guard with how raw his emotion is behind his writing, especially within the following quote. It was a very difficult read with the vivid descriptions and horrid conditions that not just Levi but all the other unnamed people went through with him.
Included in this new edition is an illuminating conversation between Philip Roth and Primo Levi never before published in book form.
Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Primo Levi is highly recommended. Published by Classic House Books and beautifully produced, Survival In Auschwitz would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone''s personal library.
An account of the horrors of the past and a shout to the future generations to learn from the past and to not let history repeat itself. Three Fascist Militia companies, which had set out in the night to surprise a much more powerful and dangerous band than ours, broke into our refuge one spectral snowy dawn and took me down to the valley as a suspect person.During the interrogations that followed, I preferred to admit my status of 'Italian citizen of Jewish race'.
I felt that otherwise I would be unable to justify my presence in places too secluded even for an evacuee; while I believed (wrongly as was subsequently seen) that the admission of my political activity would have meant torture and certain death. As a Jew, I was sent to Fossoli, near Modena, where a vast detention camp, originally meant for English and American prisoners-of-war, collected all the numerous categories of people not approved of by the new-born Fascist Republic.At the moment of my arrival, that is, at the end of January 1944, there were about one hundred and fifty Italian Jews in the camp, but within a few weeks their number rose to over six hundred. For the most part they consisted of entire families captured by the Fascists or Nazis through their imprudence or following secret accusations.
But on the morning of the 21st we learned that on the following day the Jews would be leaving. But that evening the children were given no homework.And night came, and it was such a night that one knew that human eyes would not witness it and survive. But the mothers stayed up to prepare the food for the journey with tender care, and washed their children and packed the luggage; and at dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need.
If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him to eat today?In hut 6A old Gattegno lived with his wife and numerous children and grandchildren and his sons- and daughters-in-law.

All the men were carpenters, they had come from Tripoli after many long journeys, and had always carried with them the tools of their trade, their kitchen utensils and their accordions and violins to play and dance to after the day's work. Their women were the first to silently and rapidly finish the preparations for the journey in order to have time for mourning.
When all was ready, the food cooked, the bundles tied together, they unloosened their hair, took off their shoes, placed the Yahrzeit candles on the ground and lit them according to the customs of their fathers, and sat on the bare soil in a circle for the lamentations, praying and weeping all the night.
The different emotions that overcame us, of resignation, of futile rebellion, of religious abandon, of fear, of despair, now joined together after a sleepless night in a collective, uncontrolled panic. At the end the officer asked 'Wieviel Stück?' The corporal saluted smartly and replied that there were six hundred and fifty 'pieces' and that all was in order. Here we received the first blows: and it was so new and senseless that we felt no pain, neither in body nor in spirit. Here then, before our very eyes, under our very feet, was one of those notorious transport trains, those which never return, and of which, shuddering and always a little incredulous, we had so often heard speak. Exactly like this, detail for detail: goods wagons closed from the outside, with men, women and children pressed together without pity, like cheap merchandise, for a journey towards nothingness, a journey down there, towards the bottom. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.
Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. Through the slit we saw the tall pale cliffs of the Adige Valley and the names of the last Italian cities disappear behind us. We passed the Brenner at midday of the second day and everyone stood up, but no one said a word. Our state of nervous tension made the hunger, exhaustion and lack of sleep seem less of a torment. But the hours of darkness were nightmares without end.There are few men who know how to go to their deaths with dignity, and often they are not those whom one would expect.

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