Surviving Auschwitz

There is this woman in my life, my Uncle’s mother, who I have known since I was quite young. As a child, there were three things I knew about Huggy (as we kids called her) she is tiny (about 4’6″), she is French, and she always wears long sleeves.

Growing up Jewish, the holocaust was a key part of my religious education. French Jews were imprisoned? Huggy is a French Jew. It took place in the 1940s?… Read the rest here

The UN Genocide Charter and Auschwitz

The two readings we had assigned this evening, The UN Charter on Genocide and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz both discuss genocide, but approach the topic in very different ways. One can safely assume that those who wrote up the charter did not experience the atrocities of a concentration camp, and are outsiders looking in. Levi, on the other hand, speaks with the voice of a survivor. He knows what it means to survive Auschwitz, and thus, mass genocide.… Read the rest here

Surviving Auschwitz

In “Survival in Auschwitz,” Primo Levi spoke to his experiences in an Auschwitz concentration camp for ten months.  As the title suggests, Levi spoke to how he managed to survive in such awful conditions.  Early on during his time in Auschwitz, Levi spoke to a time in which he was thirsty and opened the window, hoping to snatch an icicle.  However, a guard on duty quickly took the icicle away from Levi. When he asked the guard why, the guard responded, and said, “there is no why here,” (29).… Read the rest here

How does one survive in Auschwitz?

In Survival in Auschwitz, the author Primo Levi captures the reader into the harsh reality of life in the infamous Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Primo Levi is a young Jewish-Italian man who, in 1943 at the age of 24, was captured by the Nazi fascists while hiding in the woods and stripped of everything that belonged to him including his name.

Auschwitz is probably the most well known out of all the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.… Read the rest here

Survival in Auschwitz

In Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Levi argued that one survived in Auschwitz by maintaining his humanity. In Auschwitz, everything possible was done to strip people of their humanity: upon arriving, people were robbed of their clothes, belongings, and money. They were then shaved and tattooed with numbers that replaced their names. People in Auschwitz lived without food or proper medical treatment; most were separated from their families. Everyone was forced to do back-breaking labor day after day with little to look forward to or hope for.… Read the rest here

Quiet Survival

In the afterword to Survival in Auschwitz, Primo Levi stated: “As for survival…I insist there was no general rule, except entering the camp in good health and knowing German. Barring this, luck dominated” (180). Levi did enter the Lager in relatively good health and quickly learned some German, and he did encounter more luck than many of the Häftling, especially in the case of meeting Lorenzo, who provided Levi with both the physical sustenance of soup as well as the less tangible reminder of the world outside, where goodness still existed.… Read the rest here

Survival in Auschwitz

Three Points:
  1. In these camps, one of the largest barriers between those living there was language. Most of them had Jewish background and many of them were educated; however, there was little access to communication. Not only did this make work more difficult when listening to the commanders who spoke German and the other workers that one was working with, but also an enormous feeling of isolation.
  2. The demoralizing of the people in the concentration camps proves to be one of the founding steps in the process of their success.
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Survival in Auschwitz

  1. Primo Levi was an Italian Jew born in Turin, Italy, in 1919. At age twenty-four, he was part of a political resistance group that was caught by the fascist militia. When interrogated, he disclosed that he was a Jewish Italian citizen rather than explaining his political affiliation because he feared torture and certain death. He was sent to a vast detention camp in Fossoli, near Modena.
  2. After SS troops inspected the detention camp, they announced the deportation of all Jews.
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