The Life of Primo Levi
For my final project I read Primo Levi’s book Survival in Auschwitz. I had just started reading the book and was reading the author’s preface and I was extremely taken back by something that he said. ” It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944, that is, after the German Government had decided, owing to the growing scarcity of labour, to lengthen the average lifespan of the prisoners destined for elimination; it conceded noticable improvements in the camp routune and temporarily suspended killings at the whim of individuals. As an account of atrocities, therefore, this book of mine adds nothing to what is already known to readers throughout the world on the distrubing question of death camps.”
This is how this man decided to start his book and it really bothered me throughout the entire book. How can this man be thankful at all because what he experienced was absolutely horrible and yet he felt that it was good fortune because he was in the “better” times? This view really bothers me because it is such a skewed view and horrible way to see how some of the Jews dealt with what they expeienced in the Death Camps. Today we talked a little bit about what happened to the Jews when they were liberated and Primo Levi depicts a very interesting scene of the liberation and how it occured as well as slightly touching on what he did after. I believee that if I survived this with someone else in this camp there would be a connection between that person and myself and Primo says he has that connection with another man but after liberation he rarely talks to this man.This whole book made me sad but reading the end made me even more sad. I wish that they would have continued to talk and that they would have wanted to have eachother for support. Noone should have experienced this but because they did they had to live with this the rest of their lives and I think that if they would have stayed friends that could have helped coping if they could even cope with these atrocities.
This book gives a different view of Auschwitz. Instead of focusing on the death camp side he was in the work camp side and it was truly just as horrible if not worse. They physically were worked to death and it destroyed them as human beings. At one point in the book he is thankful to be in the infirmary because he knows his meal is secure there and he gets his own bed. I hate going to the hospital and can never imagine that being my place of safety. This book was very eye opening and I think anyone that is interested in the Death Camps should read a personal experience of this side of Auschwitz.
Levi, Primo. “Author’s Preface.” In Survival in Auschwitz, 1. 1947.
“Survival in Auschwitz.” Shmoop.com. 2015. Accessed November 10, 2015. http://www.shmoop.com/survival-in-auschwitz/questions.html.
Primo Levi image
Cefalu, Kelly. “Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz: A Story of What It Means to Be Human.” History.ucsb.edu. March 14, 2008. Accessed November 11, 2015. http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/133d/essays/Levi1996Cefalu083