Primo Levi Auschwitz Testimonies 1945-1986 with Leonardo De Benedetti is a book published by Polity. This book contains never seen before documents implementing the knowledge that there is about Auschwitz.
Primo Levi to my point of view has been the most important witness of the Holocaust during the last second world war conflict. He survived thanks to good health, thanks to his frugality (Primo Levi didn't eat a lot normally) and a work as chemist in the camp thanks to his knowledge of German and many other languages as well.
He spent all his life telling once free what happened to Auschwitz and his powerful words resonates now in the entire world as stones.
He survived at that horror, but he didn't survive at the sad memories that followed him for the rest of his life.
He was in his twenties when he was deported to Auschwitz.
Mr. De Benedetti was a physician and it helped a lot because when Mengele the horrible Nazi who sent immediately to death in the gas chambers people arriving to Auschwitz with the trains of the horror, was "saved" also because of he was a doctor. He was in his 40s when deported.
Mr. De Benedetti learned thanks to a friend the importance of telling to Mengele his work because it would have meant saving his own life although De Benedetti added that all Jewish people were hated and Germans wanted the death of all of them.
Primo Levi started once returned home to tell what experienced, the atrocities he lived, describing in particular in his most famous book: If this is a Man the bestial conditions in which they all lived at the Auschwitz camp.
Levi told that for killing people at the gas chambers Germans used the poison for the disinfection of rats, concluding that that one was a truly painful departure.
He will report in this book on his Report on Monowitz Lager (Auschwitz) what people ate, where and how they were put once survived at the Mengele's "right and left first approach" with the camp overcrowded, what kind of clothes they wore and when they could take a shower, illness affecting the people in the camp, approach to cures, treatments but also experiments on people.
Primo Levi is detailed without to lose his big humanity. He told he passed all the exams and thesis at the university with great success but close to the Jewish racial laws he didn't at first found a proper job.
I love the words he used for portraying in the newsmagazine La Stampa De Benedetti once dead.
This one of Levi was a generation who lived and experienced the horror, but although they knew what the horror was these people developed a great compassion, a great humanity for the rest of people, because they knew the meaning of true and good values.
His words for De Benedetti: "Fail but not broken by the brutal life of the Lager, mildly and calmly aware, a friend to everyone incapable of rancor,without anguish and without fear...He lived for almost forty years....Surrounded by a multitude of friends, old and new, all of whom felt indebted to him for something: many for their health, others for a piece of advice, others still simply for his presence and for his smile, childlike but never unmindful or sad, which lightened the heart."
What Levi wanted to do was to let know at youngest generations what happened during the last Second World War so that memory wouldn't never be lost and atrocities like these ones no more committed because senseless.
Invited to speak in many universities, schools, he cured The Deportation Exhibition in Turin for four years. One day he received a letter from a fascist's daughter. She was doubting of the authenticity of that imagines.
The answers of Levi: "Those things really happened...in the heart of this Europe of ours....It is not strange that many people, even innocent ones, feel ashamed when faced with these facts and prefer to keep silent. ...The shame and the silence of the innocent can mask the guilty silence of the perpetrators, allowing them to defer and evade the judgement of history....The Exhibition is addressed...To children, and to the children of children, with the aim of demonstrating what reserves of ferocity lie in the depths of the human spirit, and what dangers, today as yesterday, threaten our civilization."
I largely read since I was little a lot of books, interviews about Holocaust.
I interviewed an Auschwitz survivor as well.
I strongly suggest to everyone this book for continuing to understand, for not forgetting, for preserving the memory of that atrocities. When you must read a book about Holocaust read books of people who experienced it, like in this case, because the impact will be completely different, more persistent, real.
Afterwords by Fabio Levi and Domenico Scarpa.
I thank Polity Books for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori