Survival In Auschwitz

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Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz; The Nazi Assault on Humanity. 1st edition.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

I. Survival in Auschwitz is the unique autobiographical account of how a young man endured the atrocities of a Nazi death camp and lived to tell the tale.

Primo Levi, a 24-year-old Jewish chemist from Turin Italy, was captured by the fascist militia in December 1943 and deported to Camp Buna-Monowitz in Auschwitz. The trip by train took 4 long days in a jam-packed boxcar without food or water. Once there, interrogations by the SS of age and health determined life as a prisoner or untimely death. Levi along with hundreds of fellow Jews were stripped of their clothes, given rags to wear, had their heads shaved and were tattooed with a number on their left arm for life. The number would be their solitary identity; it told time of entrance into the camp, the nationality of the individual and was the only way one could get their daily food rations.

In the camp, better known as the Lager, a man had to be cunning. He had to learn how to get extra soup and bread rations, avoidance of extremely hard labor whenever possible, and to never take your eyes off of your belongings or they would be stolen. It was as much survival of the smartest as it was survival of the fittest. It was every man for himself; you could not show pity on your fellow man, as it would lead to your own demise.

Because of his background as a chemist, Levi was eventually assigned to work at the factory laboratory, which was a welcomed change from the hard labor he had been part of. During his time at the factory, Levi sustained an injury and was sent to the infirmary, better known as "Ka-Be". It was either a place of...

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...nter. I could not imagine being taken from my family, friends, home and life in an instant, being put on a train bound for nowhere and subsequently living a life of persecution, dehumanization and imminent extinction. I could not envision a world without the simple things that I take for granted like my name, dignity, mind and soul. Being stripped of these things is a death sentence in itself. I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that this is the first book on the Holocaust I have ever read. I guess I thought if I didn't enlighten myself on the subject, I didn't have to believe that true evil was a part of this world. As difficult as this material is to read, it is important for people to continue to educate themselves on the history of humanity no matter how malevolent it is. If we do not acknowledge it exists, we risk it reeking havoc on the human race.
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