– Primo Levi Rate it: The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one's country, … “Logic and morality made it impossible to accept an illogical and immoral reality; they engendered a rejection of reality which as a rule led the cultivated man rapidly to despair. Primo Levi. We are slaves, deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength for it is the last — the power to refuse our consent.”, “Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”, “A country is considered the more civilised the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak and a powerful one too powerful.”, “I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day.”, “This cell belongs to a brain, and it is my brain, the brain of me who is writing; and the cell in question, and within it the atom in question, is in charge of my writing, in a gigantic minuscule game which nobody has yet described. But it is not even a question whose answer would be provided by the text itself, which claims no such privilege. With characteristic, but unsettling irony, it is the word fortune that appears instead in the very first sentence of his text (“It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944…”) and that sets the tone for all that follows. Levi was afkomstig uit een Joods middenklassengezin. ', and … Levi received his Bachelor … To invoke the guiding hand of providence in the midst of such atrocity was nothing short of abhorrent to Levi. Primo Michele Levi (Italian: [ˈpriːmo ˈlɛːvi]; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian Jewish chemist, partisan, Holocaust survivor and writer. RELATED: Attack on Titan: 10 Of Grisha's Best Quotes, Ranked. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.”, “Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. When he was captured by the Fascist militia in December, 1943, Primo Levi (1919-1987) preferred to declare his status as an “Italian citizen of the Jewish race” than admit to the political activities of which he was suspected, which he supposed would have resulted in torture and certain death. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we ill have to find ourselves the strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something of us, of us as we were, still remains.”, “Dawn came on us like a betrayer; it seemed as though the new sun rose as an ally of our enemies to assist in our destruction.”, “He could hardly read or write but his heart spoke the language of the good”, “This is the most immediate fruit of exile, of uprooting: the prevalence of the unreal over the real. Levi's stronger than any other soldier, is charming, and knows how to deal with people. What Does It Mean to Be Human? Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.”, “Even in this place one can survive, and therefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness; and that to survive we must force ourselves to save at least the skeleton, the scaffolding, the form of civilization. And this is the reason why so often in free life one hears it said that man is never content. Send … May your children turn their faces from you. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. “Consider if this is a man…”: the imperative issued by Levi’s text is thus not that one should persist in seeing the human in the inhuman. ), The Periodic Table (1975, 1984), 227-228. Levi states that thus far he has only described the workings of life itself in the Lager, but now he would like to offer his own analysis.In his eyes, “the Lager was pre-eminently a gigantic biological and social experiment,” since many men of different languages and traditions have been thrust together, left to survive or die by their own means. But immaculate virtue does not exist either, or if it exists it is detestable.”, “...he never asked nor accepted any reward, because he was good and simple and did not think that one did good for a reward.”, “We are not dissatisfied with our choices and with what life has, “The librarian, whom I had never seen before, presided over the library like a watchdog, one of those poor dogs who are deliberately made vicious by being chained up and given little to eat; ot better, like the old, toothless cobra, pale because of centuries of darkness, who guards the king's treasure in the Jungle Book. Although in an important sense it is also that. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. The importance of this quote is of the picture Primo Levi puts in the reader’s mind. LINK/CITE. In fact, the existence of the death squads had a meaning, a message: 'We, the master race, are your destroyers, but you are no better than we are; if we so wish, and we do so wish, we can destroy not only your bodies, but also your souls, just as we have destroyed ours. Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Levi writes that his one conscious purpose in life has been “to make my voice heard by the German people, to ‘talk back’ to the SS.” Levi wrote his memoir, originally titled Se questo è un uomo (in English, If this is a man), in 1946, about a year after being set free from the camp. Primo Levi - quote by on YourDictionary. A simple man, accustomed not to ask questions of himself, was beyond the reach of the useless torment of asking himself why. Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. Credit: Logaritmo/Wikimedia Commons. It is not exactly a question, and certainly not one that solicits an answer. It is not possible to sink lower than this; no human condition is more miserable than this, nor could it conceivably be so. As a child, he was frail and sickly, and was mocked for his small frame and timid disposition. But this does not mean he's a smug jerk. Or may your house fall apart, Soon after the war ended, he wrote several books about his experience. She gave the impression of never having been young, although she was certainly not more than thirty, and of having been born there, in the shadows, in that vague odor of mildew and stale air.”. Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist, author. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features. But this process was especially accelerated in the case of those he called the drowned: “they followed the slope down to the bottom, like streams that run down to the sea”. We're taking off our kid gloves and pulling precisely zero punches: this one's not at all easy to read. These were the prisoners who, for whatever reason (and the reasons were many), never adjusted to the brutal regimen of life in the camp; whose time in the camp was thus consequently very brief; yet whose number was apparently endless. It was all incomprehensible and mad. Indeed, what is striking about Levi’s contribution, still today, is the conspicuous absence of a heroic register from its pages, whose appropriateness in this context – which is in large part what Levi teaches us – must surely be as questionable as the temptation to invoke it is strong. … Repeat them to your children, Levi concludes “oh, if one could only cry! Information and translations of primo in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on … "Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it." 310 quotes from Primo Levi: 'Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. Fabio ... outspoken words. Primo Levi was born in Turin in Italy in 1919, to a family of non-religious Jews with Spanish roots. And it does so by bringing to light the existence of a distinct oppositional pair much less evident in ordinary life: the drowned (i sommersi) and the saved (i salvati). For the description of what Levi calls the “ambiguous life of the Lager” alters our understanding of the very structure of witnessing. Primo Michele Levi was a Jewish Italian chemist, Holocaust survivor and author of memoirs, short stories, poems, and novels.He is best known for his work on the Holocaust, and in particular his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in Auschwitz, the infamous death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. “Imagine now a man who is deprived of everyone he loves, and at the same time of his house, his habits, his clothes, in short, of everything he possesses: he will be a hollow man, reduced to suffering and needs, forgetful of dignity and restraint, for he who loses all often easily loses himself. 32199 of 42574. Does … Now, I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. That's right. He survived the experience, probably in part because he was a trained chemist and as such, useful to the Nazis. Of the 650 who departed Fossoli that day, only three would return. 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