Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz

1093 words 5 pages
Sarah Johnson
Personal Response to Survival in Auschwitz
“Why is the pain of every day translated so constantly into our dreams, in the ever-repeated scene of the unlistened-to story” (Levi, p 60)? As I read this quote in my book, I highlighted it and wrote in the margin “foreshadowing”. I feel confident that these dreams signified just that; that the author (amongst the other survivors) would forever re-live those horrors and try tell their stories…and no one listens. The poem at the beginning of the book, Survival in Auschwitz, by Primo Levi, warns us of just this and curses us should we fail to listen. It is imperative that we a global community never forget and forever respect the struggle. I believe that this feeling, of sharing his
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“We Italians had decided to meet every Sunday evening in a corner of the Lager, but we stopped it at once, because it was too sad to count our numbers and find fewer each time, and to see each other even more deformed and more squalid. And it was so tiring to walk those few steps and then, meeting each other, to remember and to think. It was better not to think (p 37).”
It took me a few years to understand the concept of “humanity”. If you look it up in the dictionary or online the definitions are abstract and I do not feel that they give you an adequate description of the connotation and denotation together. Levi, however, does a very clear job in showing us examples of the clear inhumane acts of the Nazi’s and the humanity within the camp to help each other. One of the stories that most clearly show us a true meaning of humanity and that really resonates with me can be found in Chapter 17: The Story of Ten Days. On January 22 at night, after everyone has gone to bed, Levi talks about Lakmaker, a 17 year old Dutch Jew boy who has been sick for months and cannot seem to communicate verbally very well others due to their language barrier. Levi describes the scene as the boy “…groaned and then threw himself from the bed. He tried … too weak and fell to the ground crying and shouting loudly” (p 176). Their companion in the ward called Charles climbed down from his bunk and cleaned Lakmaker’s bunk