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Book Title: I sommersi e i salvati|
The author of the book: Primo Levi
Date of issue: 1991
ISBN 13: 9788806126957
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 39.43 MB
Read full description of the books I sommersi e i salvati:An unrelentingly grim series of eight essays about the concentration camp experience, recommended only for true pessimists and those who think that Primo Levi is one of the very greatest writers about the Holocaust, which I do.
One thing Primo Levi does for us is complicate things. He explains :
Without profound simplification the world around us would be an infinite, undefined tangle that would defy our ability to orient ourselves and decide upon our actions. In short, we are compelled to reduce the knowable to a schema.
However, you don’t have to go far to discover that what has been presented to you in the official rhetoric as being straightforward is not so – the war isn’t winnable, the peace isn’t with honour, the enemy aren’t terrorists, they had no weapons of mass destruction, they don’t hate us because we love freedom. These are simplifying, comforting untruths.
In the first essay, “The Memory of the Offense”, he notes the optimistic self-generated rumours of the prisoners in the camps - the war will be over in two weeks, there will be no more selections, Polish partisans will liberate the camp soon – and sets them beside the similarly comforting lies of the surviving perpetrators – only following orders, we knew nothing about this, I was not a Nazi.
For Levi, the simple statement is usually self-deluding. This is true for the prisoners of the Nazis as well as the Nazis.
The network of human relationships inside the lagers (camps) was not simple – it could not be reduced to the two blocs of victims and perpetrators.
The privileged prisoners were a minority within the Lager population, but they represent a potent majority among the survivors
And the “privileged” prisoners were ones who managed, by one means or another, to get better food rations than the others. Ordinary prisoners got 800 calories a day and died of malnutrition and disease.
This is a shocking thing – most of the survivors, he is saying, were, in some way, compromised.
Levi reminds us again that one of the central lessons of the Third Reich is the seemingly infinite compromisability of human beings. You can get them to do almost anything, just ask a sonderkommando.
Read information about the authorPrimo Michele Levi (Italian: [ˈpriːmo ˈlɛːvi]; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian chemist and writer. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known works include If This Is a Man (1947), his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; and his unique work, The Periodic Table (1975), linked to qualities of the elements, which the Royal Institution of Great Britain named the best science book ever written.
The Jews were rounded up for deportation to eastern concentration and death camps. On 21 February 1944, the inmates of the camp were transported in twelve cramped cattle trucks to Monowitz, one of the three main camps in the Auschwitz concentration camp complex (Levi's record number was 174,517). He spent eleven months there before the camp was liberated by the Red Army on 18 January 1945. Of the 650 Italian Jews in his transport, Levi was one of twenty who left the camps alive. The average life expectancy of a new entrant at the camp was three months.
Shortly before the camp was liberated by the Red Army, he fell ill with scarlet fever and was placed in the camp's sanatorium. On 18 January 1945, the SS hurriedly evacuated the camp as the Red Army approached, forcing all but the gravely ill on a long death march to a site further from the front.
Although liberated on 27 January 1945, Levi did not reach Turin until 19 October 1945. After spending some time in a Soviet camp for former concentration camp inmates, as a result of the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces, he embarked on an arduous journey home in the company of former pre-1946 Italian prisoners of war from the Royal Italian Army in Russia. His long railway journey home to Turin took him on a circuitous route from Poland, through Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. In later writing, he noted the millions of displaced people on the roads and trains throughout Europe in that period.
In the Academy Award-winning 2003 film by Denys Arcand, Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), the main character expresses outrage at the apparent apathy of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II toward the Holocaust: "Pius XII sitting on his ass in his gilded Vatican, while Primo Levi was taken to Auschwitz... It's despicable! Hideous!". In another scene the same character wishes that he had written The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Levi's The Periodic Table. Later in the film, a French edition of If This Is A Man (Si c'est un homme) is prominently shown on the same character's bookshelf.
Christopher Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist, a collection of extracts of atheist texts, is dedicated to the memory of Levi, "who had the moral fortitude to refuse false consolation even while enduring the 'selection' process in Auschwitz". The dedication quotes Levi in The Drowned and the Saved, asserting, "I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day."
The Primo Levi Center was named after the author.
In the Warehouse 13 episode "No Pain, No Gain," Primo Levi's scarf is featured as an artifact. The wearer gains "deep insight and intellect. Side effects may include prolific bouts of writing and intense thought provocation".
David Blaine has Primo Levi's concentration camp number, 174517, from Auschwitz tattooed on his left forearm.
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