PRIMO LEVI PDF
Those who by chance climbed down on one side of the convoy entered the camp ; the others went to thegas chamber. This is the reason why. The three memorial works written by Primo Levi about the experiences lived during his stay at Auschwitz concentration camp and his subsequent memories about it, If This is a Man, The Truce and The Drowned and the Saved, known as Auschwitz Trilogy, have several elements in common. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | On Jan 12, , Jacob Howland and others published Primo Levi's Nostalgia.
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TICONTRE 06 TEORIA TESTO TRADUZIONE 20 16 T3 ISSN TICONTRE. TEORIA TESTO TRADUZIONE numero 6 - novembre con il. Primo Levi & the Demolition of a Man By Thomas Maldonado Surviving the senseless brutality of the concentration camps not only demanded sheer physical . Beiträge zur Literaturwissenschaft Jahrgang XLVI/ 2. Halbband Primo Levi. In Memoriam Edited by Manuela Consonni and Federico Italiano.
Initially, when summoned before the examining magistrate, K. Af er the rst hearing, the court, which appears as a great organisation veiled in secrecy, leaves K. Feldman, New York, Schocken Books, , pp. A Revaluation, in Essays in Understanding , ed. A Dissenting View, in Admitting the Holocaust: See Levi, A Mysterio Sensibility, cit.
Interviews , ed. Gordon, trans. Incontri, interviste e conversazioni con Primo Levi, ed. The Letters to Felice, trans. Little by little, the trial takes hold of K. He therefore decides to dismiss his lawyer and take things into his own hands. But af er long and confusing dis- cussions with Titorelli, the court painter, and with a prison chaplain in the cathedral, he gradually understands that he has no escape.
Ka a seals the book with Josef K. Figures like the thrasher evoked the mass of petty functionaries and piti- less authorities he had met in the camp. Above all, Josef K. Faced with Ka a, my unconscious defences were set o f: These defences collapsed as I translated him, and I have found myself lowered into the character of Josef K.
Robertson, Kafka: As Robertson notes, the word Schuld in The Trial encompasses several meanings: See L. So what kind of impact did the story of Josef K.
Primo Levi Pdf
Second, the re exive nature of the judging process. Third, the way in which the process of self-examination elicits a feeling of shame. Testimonianze , ed. Of en we are tempted to Ticontre. The language used to evaluate the di ferent inmate-functionaries illustrates the di cult and yet necessary relationship between Holocaust testimony and jurisprudence: This category is a grey zone, with unde ned contours, which both separates and connects the two opposing camps of masters and servants.
It has an incredibly complicated internal structure, and harbours just enough to confound our need to judge. The criminal complicity of individual collaborators, great and small never friendly, never transparent! We would prefer to entrust that judgment only to people who have been in similar circumstances and experienced for themselves what it means to act under coercion.
The condition of victimhood does not exclude guilt, which is of en objec- tively serious, but I do not know a human court that could be delegated to take its measure.
A more subtle and varied judgment is required for those who held senior po- sitions […]. The same impotentia judicandi leaves us paralysed before the case of Chaim Rumkowski. The micro- physics of evil that enabled the Final Solution demands to be judged, and yet there is a residue that exceeds and escapes comprehension.
Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, cit. The Witness and the Archive, trans.
Bridges of Knowledge
Thus, in both situations the trial becomes a self-referential process, a punish- ment in actu which calls into question the law. Perhaps noth- ing reveals more about the nature of this trial-punishment than the dialogue between K. Interrogated about K. Genuine acquittals occur only in legends.
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As Titorelli tells K. Yet both leave the accused totally compromised, in wait of the nal blow. The law of necessity is unappealable, it strikes with the inexorability of Tyche. Cacciari, Icone della Le e, cit. Tyche Roman equivalent: Fortuna was the daugh- ter of Ocean and Tethys, and thus a goddess of the sea and a sister of Metis.
She represented luck, the event, the element of human existence that humans do not control. Who belongs to the court? Should I also give an account of myself? Levi knew well that only people of esh and blood can give an account of themselves, for both morality and justice concern the individual in his or her singularity.
Kafka, The Trial, cit. On this issue, see also Hannah Arendt, Responsibility and Judgment, ed. Josef K. Indeed, from the moment in which he decides to undertake this impossible task, the court and the trial redouble and become realities at once internal and external to his life. See ibid, p.
The violence of the tattoo was gratuitous, an end in itself, a pure insult: No, something more was needed, a nonverbal message, so the innocent would feel their sentence inscribed in their esh. The harshness of prison was perceived as punishment, and the sense of guilt if there punishment, there must have been guilt was relegated to the background, only to re-emerge af er liberation. In other words, there was no need to punish oneself with suicide for a real or presumed guilt that was already being expiated through the su ferings of every day.
What guilt? In the Penal Colony is chronologically and thematically interconnected to The Trial, for it was written in October , when Ka a paused from working on his novel, and deals with the themes of guilt, punishment, and justice. Levi recalls this last meaning at the beginning of his chapter on the grey zone p. At a certain point, like when K. Do you feel shame because you are alive in the place of someone else?
A per- son more generous, sensitive, wise, useful, and worthy of living than you? You cannot exclude the possibility: You nd no obvious transgressions.
You cannot rule out the possibility. Like Josef K. By putting himself on trial, he discovers a feeling that will survive both him and the court that hunted him down. What should Josef K. He is ashamed of many contradictory things, because he is not consistent, and his na- ture like that of most of us consists in being inconsistent, not the same over the course of time, unstable, erratic, divided even at the same moment, split into two or more personalities that cannot exist together.
He is ashamed of having quar- relled with the tribunal of the cathedral and, at the same time, of not having stood up to the tribunal of the garrets with su cient force. Of having wasted his life in petty o ce jealousies, in false love a fairs, in morbid timidity, in static and obses- sive accomplishments. Of existing when, by now, he should no longer exist: But I sense, in this shame, an element that I am familiar with: In the end it is a human, not a divine, tribunal: These parts are not mutu- ally exclusive, but complimentary.
Citato a p. Citato alle pp. Angier, Carole, The Double Bond. Arendt, Hannah, Eichmann in Jerusalem. Baioni, Giuliano, Kafka: Letteratura ed ebraismo, Torino, Einaudi, Benjamin, Walter, Franz Kafka: Calasso, Roberto, K. Milano, Adelphi, Freud, Sigmund, The Uncanny, trans. Giglioli, Daniele, Narratore, in Primo Levi, ed.
Gordon, Robert S. Ci- tato a p. Insana, Lisa, Arduo Tasks: Langer, Lawrence, Kafka Holocaust Prophet: Levi Della Torre, Stefano, Zone di turbolenza. Conversazione con Giovanni Tesio, Torino, Einaudi, Ci- tato alle pp.
Dee, Gordon, Cambridge, Polity, Marelli, Arianna, Primo Levi e la traduzione del Processo, ovvero il processo della traduzione, in Ricercare le radici. Robertson, Ritchie, Kafka: Essays , London, Faber and Faber, Thomson, Ian, Primo Levi.
A Life, London, Vintage, Abramo, M. Fadini e C. Lombroso and his circle became very much the epicentre of intellectual life in the city, his charismatic personality drawing large numbers of people to his lectures. His Sunday salon, held in his house on via Legnano, was a meeting place for the Turin intelligentsia, including towards the end of the century Cesare Levi, trained like his father before him as an engineer. In marked contrast to the socialism that would emerge from Turin in the second and third decades of the twentieth century, theirs was a socialism bereft of any class antagonism and with little or no mention of Marx.
Far from being a socialism of revolution, this was a socialism of reconciliation and compromise, in the service of a vision of a society without divisions, whether of class or region. If society works, says De Amicis, it is because good-hearted people make it work. The text, in fact, responds to much the same logic of wish-fulfilment as the Torino volume mentioned earlier, offering its readers an image of the organic society they would like to see.
In Cuore, danger and transgression are defused by means of a handshake or a hug, as all parties involved realize that the greater good of the community and of the still-infant nation is best served by being responsible, generous, openminded and fair.
Respect for the institutions of family, monarchy and school is paramount, as is love of country and gratitude for those who created it. It is, for example, the bourgeois Sig. Nobis who gives the class its most important lesson of the year when he proudly shakes the hand of Sig. Vignettes like this argue for an inclusiveness that gives to each and all a role, whether humble or mighty, in a utopian organic society where everyone knows their rightful place and whose unity transcends and obliterates any differences of class, status and region.
One boy alone challenges and undermines the harmony, causing anguish to his mother and to the community: Franti. Through the anti-heroic Franti, De Amicis hints at the unavoidable dark side to the utopia, to those one would want neither to hug nor shake hands with.
Although Cuore does not give us any precise details about him apart from the fact that he has a low forehead , it is no stretch of the imagination to see Franti as a member of the category of born criminals elaborated by Lombroso. According to Lombroso, there were two types of criminal: those who are pushed by circumstance and social and economic injustice into the ways of crime; and those who are born criminals on the basis of the size of their cranium.
For the former, a soft approach is warranted that aims at reform and the recovery of the lost soul within the 7 DAVID WARD embrace of the community; for the latter, there is no hope of avoiding biological destiny, and they must be separated from the community lest — or before — they do it harm. Such born criminals are criminals even before they have committed a crime, as there is no escaping their biological destiny.
The capital of the Italian fashion and cinema industries, Turin was also home to a small car factory, Fabbrica italiana automobili Torino, or FIAT, which was founded in The sense of malaise was not confined to Turin, but was perceived by a growing number of young and not so young intellectuals the nation over.
What brought together a band of men and women of varying ideological persuasions was a common project of both cultural and political renewal. Positivism came out of this reassessment of the cultural state of Italy in a particularly bad way. If our future was already pre-determined, biologically or otherwise, what role did that leave for creativity, innovation, will, novelty?
If positivist materialism had eclipsed spirit, now was the time for Italy to set the balance right and embrace idealism, and with it the primacy of spirit and mind over matter.
As can be well imagined, although it may have had a common basis, the means of achieving this project were various and contradictory.
But the glue that held the whole together, despite its many internal tensions, was the way in which it was cast as the revolt of a younger generation against their staid and now discredited father figures.
Gobetti and Gramsci both realized that the working class was the new protagonist on the social scene and in no city better than Turin, with its factories, entrepreneurs and industrial base and culture, could its dynamic potential be seen. Gramsci and Gobetti, however, came from different ideological and regional backgrounds and envisaged different roles for the emerging working classes. Gramsci, born in a backward part of a backward island — Sardinia — had come to Turin in on a scholarship to study at the university.
He became a socialist and, when the party split in , he was instrumental in founding the Italian Communist Party; Gobetti, on the other hand, was Turin born and bred, the son of shopkeepers and was ideologically a liberal, albeit a frustrated one, living in a period of crisis of liberalism.
Both in distinct ways found inspiration in the Turin working class and, above all, in the Factory Council Movement of , when for a short time the FIAT workers took over control of the car factory. For Gramsci, the movement was a dress rehearsal for the day when, as two years previously in Russia, Italian workers would gain control of the means of production and run the factories and the state itself on their own.
For Gobetti, they represented an infusion of new entrepreneurial blood into the body politic, useful to regenerate a then moribund liberalism. Despite these differences, both Gobetti and Gramsci held ideas on social and political change that were light years away from those of the Lombroso group. For both the one and the other, social antagonism, rather than quiescence, was crucial. Progress took the form of a generational struggle between newly emerged elites — like the one at the FIAT factory — who challenged an existing status quo and sought to take its place, in turn to be challenged by a future freshly emerged elite.
Change, then, came from below, rather than being managed from above, and was the fruit of the actions of individuals autonomously creating their own world. It would also influence, not to say inspire, a generation of anti-Fascists. Culture and anti-Fascism Both Gobetti and Gramsci fell victim to Fascist repression: the latter dying shortly after being released for ill health from over a decade in prison; the former dying at the age of twenty-five in voluntary exile in Paris after being severely beaten on direct orders from Mussolini.
It was here that anti-Fascist-leaning professors like Augusto Monti and Zini taught; and it was here that, in the mids, a remarkable group of people, many of whom were to leave an indelible mark on Italian history and culture, studied. The list makes impressive reading, including unionist and socialist Vittorio Foa, writer Cesare Pavese, intellectual and victim of Nazi torture Leone Ginzburg, philosopher Norberto Bobbio and Communist Party cadre and journalist Giancarlo Pajetta.
Einaudi published not only the works of Gramsci, but also a wide range of the most significant Italian and non-Italian literary and intellectual writers of the era.
For them, as it had been for Gobetti, Fascism represented an insult, an immoral affront to individual rights and responsibilities, autonomy and creativity. For these young men and women, to fight against Fascism was to fight against a way of life, which they identified in a social grouping they abhorred with a passion: the amorphous, unthinking, intellectually lazy and complacent mass of the middle classes. Their revolt was that of young bourgeois intellectuals against the very bourgeois culture that had produced them and had then shown its worst face by capitulating to or supporting Fascism.
There was more than a dose of snobbery in the intellectual anti-Fascism of GL. Like many bourgeois families in Italy, the Levis had a non-confrontational relationship with Fascism that was dictated not so much by acquiescence to the regime as to an understandable instinct for self-protection. Cesare joined the Fascist Party, the PNF, when it became necessary to do so; Levi ran the gamut of the Fascist youth organizations when he was growing up Balilla, Avanguardia and later voluntary militia.
None of this formal acquiescence to the regime prevented Levi from eventually in the early s embracing anti-Fascism, however, and an anti-Fascism with a strong Turinese, GL inflection, even if the itinerary that led him towards militancy in the anti-Fascist Resistance was slower and less dramatic than that of the likes of Foa and Ginzburg.
As Primo himself tells us in The Periodic Table Il sistema periodico, , young men and women of his generation knew little of these traditions when at school. By the mids, the grip the regime had over civil society had become firm, reducing radically the space for anti-Fascist activity. Indeed, many of the dazeglini who had joined GL found themselves either in jail Foa, Einaudi and Ginzburg or sent into internal exile in isolated villages in southern Italy Pavese and Carlo Levi.
They talked to us about unknowns: Gramsci, Salvemini, Gobetti, the Rosselli brothers — who were they? There is probably a degree of exaggeration for effect here: the Levi family had some indirect contact, through family ties with the Foas, for example; or Carlo Levi, who was a relative by marriage and friendship, with GL militants. Indeed, when many of the GL militants were arrested in two police sweeps of and , the Levi family was concerned, groundlessly as it turned out, that they too might somehow be in trouble with the regime.
What Levi does capture in The Periodic Table is the sense of isolation that he and his generation felt at that time and the gap, more cultural than temporal, that separated them from the heroic generation of some years earlier. In , in a rather heated reply to an essay in the American journal Commentary by Fernanda Eberstadt, who had claimed that Levi only committed himself to anti-Fascism after the Armistice in September , he dates his own anti-Fascism to a much earlier period, that of the Racial Laws OII, —3.
First among these were the brothers Ennio and Emanuele Artom, with whom Levi had contact via the closer ties that, paradoxically, the local Jewish community developed in the wake of the Racial Laws. Another important figure was Ada Della Torre, a second aunt with whom he lodged in Milan, when he began work in for the Swiss Wander pharmaceutical company, and who introduced Levi into the world of active anti-Fascism.
Levi saw the worst side of the Resistance movement: by all accounts, his band was badly organized and ill-equipped, its members undisciplined, a far cry from the Gobettian image of principled, morally upright, intransigent anti-Fascism associated with Action Party militants. On 13 December, Levi, having seen almost no action as a partisan, was arrested along with the other members of his group and embarked on the first stage of the odyssey that would take him to the death camps and back. The self-image that Levi had of himself was that of a man whose roots were deeply set in the traditions, history, culture, language and identity of his city and its region.
Everything he tells us about himself seems to conform to the stereotype of an identity forged in the humus of Turin and Piedmont. In this short piece, Levi speaks of a building we have already encountered, one that is close to the hearts of both the people of Turin and its Jewish community: the Mole Antonelliana.
Originally built as a synagogue, the Mole has come to symbolize the entire city. In reading the few paragraphs Levi dedicates to the Mole one cannot fail to be struck by the affectionate tone of his words, as if he were in the company of trusted friends, in a safe and familiar place.
Despite all this or because of it , the Mole is akin to a friend whose flaws we know and love because we are familiar with them, because they are part of our landscape, part of who we are. Levi goes to great pains to offer an image of himself immersed in the local colour of the Piedmont and Piedmont-Jewish circles in which he moved.
It is hardly surprising, of course, that he set such great store by affirmations of local rootedness and belonging. I love the city, its dialect, its streets, its pavements, its avenues, the hill and the mountains that surround it, which I climbed as a boy, I like the rural and hill-dweller roots of its people, the conscientiousness of its workers, the flair of its artisans, the rigour of its technicians.
My way of writing is influenced for certain in no small degree by my chemical profession but also in part by having been formed in a sober, concrete and symmetrical city, a technical city where I have carved out my own niche. NOTES 1. Torino, Turin, Roux e Favale, See Mary Gibson, Born to Crime.
Zino Zini, Pagine di vita torinese. Note dal diario — , Turin, Centro studi piemontesi, , pp.
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Incontri, interviste e conversazioni con Primo Levi, Milan, Mursia, , p. The Periodic Table Il sistema periodico, , pp. They were perhaps closer to what contemporary British or American Jews would call, respectively, Reform or Conservative Judaism.
Levi had a Bar Mitzvah at the typical age of thirteen, involving two years of religious preparation for the event, which at first he took seriously and with some fervour. At the time, he even vowed to wear tefillin, or phylacteries, but he was partly inspired, he later said, by the promise of a reward for his piety from his family, in the form of a new bicycle.
In The Periodic Table, Levi recounts how his father loved prosciutto, and would download it and consume it out of the house as a guilty pleasure p. This spirit of mutiny often characterizes secular Judaism: a simultaneous recognition of and rebellion against religious practice. But it is not a mark of assimilation: rather, it indicates the stalwart presence of a culture to be rebelled against and reformulated rather than abandoned. The problem, however, goes beyond the individual case of Levi.
During and after the eighteenthcentury Enlightenment, where modern Jewish emancipation finds its roots, Jewish assimilation was a major topic of debate both for Jewish communities and for Christian cultural figures interested in Jewish intellectual ideas, as well as for political elites from Napoleon to the Italian Risorgimento.
At times Levi stated, particularly in interviews, that his Jewish consciousness was not active before being persecuted as a Jew e. Levi was raised in a specifically Italian-Jewish context that to a large degree determined the construction of his Jewish identity. His family had moved to Turin from the Piedmontese countryside only a generation before, leaving the small town of Bene Vagienna, where they had encountered both overt and covert discrimination. Born in , the year the Fascist Party was formed in Italy, Levi was educated under the strictures of Fascism.
As the years of Fascism wore on, more and more attempts were made to achieve national homogeneity. Theories purporting common racial origins of all Christian Italians were propagated.
There was a covert movement as well on the part of Mussolini quietly to exclude Jews from positions of power all over Italy beginning as early as The Racial Laws prohibited Jewish students from attending public schools, but Levi managed to finish his degree at Turin University, although not without problems. He attended a study group for two years in which he became engrossed in Jewish intellectual culture. As part of these studies, Levi gave a talk on the topic of antisemitism to the community.
The talk was a traumatic event for him as he suffered from extreme shyness and found his first attempt at public speaking tortuous. Ironically, his thesis was the claim that antisemitism was at an all-time historical low. Later, when he became a universally recognized Holocaust writer and survivor, these identities — again, external in origin — also became indelibly marked upon him.
Levi felt that bearing witness and testifying through his work was an important mission, both for his own need to re-establish himself as an individual after being treated as less than human by the Nazis and for educational purposes.
At times, this led him to foreground the specifically Jewish aspect of his experience and this history; at others he underscored universal lessons learned from suffering and injustice.
He embraced the role of Holocaust educator, visiting schools, meeting children and describing his experiences to them. At the same time he tried to establish his career as a writer whose topics were not limited to the Holocaust. Tensions between different components of his identity became apparent at this time: known almost exclusively as a Holocaust writer and survivor, Levi had to struggle to get himself seen in any other light.
In the late s, Levi became interested in exploring Yiddish and Ashkenazi language and literature.
Levi wanted to familiarize himself with the predominant Jewish culture that was largely destroyed by the Holocaust, in order to better understand the lives of Eastern Europeans Jews.
These interests and research included prefaces, essays and stories9 and culminated in the writing and publication of his Jewish partisan novel, If Not Now, When? This also brought with it reflections on the identity of the diasporic Jew, in relation to Israel and to Jewish identity and culture Voice of Memory, p.
Primo Levi Pdf
In an interview with Edith Bruck, Levi says that he is incapable of an objective judgement on Israel; that the Israel supported by the right is precisely that aspect of Israel that he likes the least Voice of Memory, p. Levi was roundly attacked for such views; accused of being anti-Israel, although this was far from the truth. As both a Jew and a well-known Holocaust survivor, Levi was expected to support Israel uncritically.
His opinions on the matter, however well thought out, became a sign of a perceived lack of loyalty to his Jewish identity. Levi writes about the history of Jewish experience in modern Italy in several chronological periods. The first treats the previous generations and is historical and genealogical, the second the years before the war, then his best-known works about the Holocaust, and finally his experiences in the post-war years.It is therefore not surprising that Einaudi thought of pairing the two to launch his editorial project.
Testimonianze , ed. The Praguese writer laid bare the inescapable duplicity of his identity, the complexio oppositorum that animated his inner world. Levi chooses an inexplicit manner that allows for an insider-outsider dynamic in the reading, reenacting the separation between the Jewish and goy, avoiding their wrath by encoding his tacit argument against his own Christian Catholic society for all its love of the survivor.
As complex as the subject may be, the obscure poet that inscribed the gates of Auschwitz with the inscription arbeit macht frei was not beyond inspiring a sense of loving justice meted out.
This involved the so-called population exchange, that is the transfer in Turkey of the Muslims living in Greece and the return to Greece of the Orthodox Christians living in Turkey.
Sympathy, bilateral, and esteem, unilateral, came later Levi, , p. Next to us there is a group of Greeks, those admirable and terrible Jews of Salonika, tenacious, thieving, wise, ferocious and united, so determined to live, such pitiless opponents in the struggle for life; those Greeks who have conquered in the kitchens and in the yards, and whom even the Germans respect and the Poles fear.
Gross, New York, Camden House, , pp.
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