Levi Primo 1919 - 1987 (68)

The aims of life are the best defense against death.



in Auschwitz

Primo Levi (July 31, 1919- April 11, 1987) was an Italian writer who survived Auschwitz and recorded his experiences in a number of books. Born in Turin to Italian-Jewish parents, he was an intelligent child, first in his class, small and shy. He began studying chemistry in Turin, where most of the inhabitants - and many Jews - were fascists, without imagining the impending threat. When Mussolini allied with Hitler, persecution of Jews began and in 1938, the fascist Italian government banned Jews from attending universities. Eventually, those who were already studying were allowed to continue their studies, and Primo, with many problems - no professor wanted to take up his diploma - managed to get his degree in 1941, on which it was written that he was a Jew. There were thoughts of him fleeing abroad but his father had died by then and he did not want to leave his mother so he remained in Italy despite the obvious danger. He got a job as a chemist in a nickel mine and soon a better job in Milan. From 1942 he joined an anti-fascist organization and was arrested by the police and imprisoned. In 1944 (February 22) he was sent to Auschwitz with 650 other Jews. 20 of them, including Primo, managed to survive. As he wrote, he managed to survive because he was thin and petite, resistant to starvation, he knew enough German to do the interpreter, he was a chemical so he was useful to them, and also he was lucky several times to randomly choose for the gas chambers; finally when the Germans left the camp taking with them the remaining prisoners whom they killed at every opportunity, he was in the infirmary with smallpox where the Russians found him.

Primo Levi wrote in 1946 and within a few months the book "Survival in Auschwitz" in which he described life and death in Auschwitz; he married, had 2 children, worked as a chemist, wrote other books on German extermination camps and the war, he became famous. The last years of his life were very difficult; he had health problems, he took care of his elderly and demented mother and he suffered from depression. In 1986, he wrote the book "Those who drowned and those who survived", 40 years after his first work on the same subject with a more thoughtful, philosophical and detached look. A year later, on April 11, 1987, he jumped from the railing of the stairs of his house (3rd floor) and died. Exactly like that, falling from the 3rd floor, his grandfather had committed suicide after the bankruptcy of the family business, 80 years ago.