Analysis Of Survival In Auschwitz By Primo Levi

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Register to read the introduction… He begins the novel with the phrase "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 elimi- nation" (Levi 9). So, had he been captured prior to 1944, his story might not have been told. Seeing as life in Monowitz (aka Buna or the Läger) was particularly brutal upon his arrival, one can only imagine the conditions that existed before the Nazi war machine experienced its labor shortage. When compelled to consider the conditions in which Levi was forced to live, it is clear to see that the will to survive must be complemented by another factor, as this will alone is not at all strong enough to sustain life. Not only are the authority figures brutish and sadistic, but the code among the prisoners themselves is even more cutthroat. In addition, the "cuisine" is terrible and is summed up in the following passage: "...every two or three hours we have to get up to discharge ourselves of the great dose of water which during the day we are forced to absorb in the form of soup in order to …show more content…
Although Levi's relationships with his comrades were always respectful and genuine, at times he appears to be emotionally removed from them. Aside from Alberto, who was Levi's best friend from Turin, Levi came in contact with many men whose selflessness was by no means deterred by their degrading situation. Among the "compatriots" that stick out to Levi is Jean who was an Alsatian student. Jean was given the post of "Pikolo" which was a very relaxed assignment which includes the duties of "…messenger-clerk…cleaning of the hut… [and] the distribution of tools…" (Levi 109). Jean's post entitled him lots of leniency which he did not hesitate to share with Levi such as accompanying him to fetch the soup. In return, Levi taught him Italian using The Canto of Ulysses. Another comrade that Levi seems to have fond memories of is an Italian civilian worker, who was a POW named Lorenzo. "… [He] brought me a piece of bread and the remainder of his ration everyday for six months; he gave a vest of his…; he wrote a postcard on my behalf to Italy and brought me the reply. For all this he neither asked nor accepted any reward…" (Levi 119). This was an incredible stroke of luck on Levi's behalf as this was not at all the typical relationship among the inmates, nor between Levi and those he truly considered friends. This is an environment where you must shower with your belongings wedged between your knees or run the risk of them being stolen. An environment where meals consist of watery soup that is purposely not stirred so as to save the bottom, most fulfilling rations for the officials in the camps. An environment where every man is for himself, yet one man still finds the compassion to actually care about his fellow

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