Commentary on the Weather Used in Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz/ Is This a Man

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Olivia Persons
Ms. Warren
IB English 1
26 March 2012
Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz
Weather and Seasonal Change
I. Introduction
In Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, there is a clear consensus that the weather and seasonal change played a significant role in the lives of the Auschwitz camp prisoners. The climate affected every aspect of being but more specifically the prisoner’s work ethic and welfare. The prisoners endured dreadful living conditions that were either amplified with cold weather or minimized by warmth. II. Living Conditions in Auschwitz

The camp prisoners’ day began in the early morning with a roll call, where they assembled outside for hours. After roll call, the prisoners were marched to the place where they were to work for the day wearing striped camp uniforms, no underwear and ill fitting wooden shoes without socks. Most of the work included heavy lifting of materials and other such activities that helped to support the German war effort. No rest periods were allowed until the evening roll call. If one person was missing, the others had to remain standing in place until he was found or the reason for his absence had been discovered. The prisoners were then allowed to retire to their bunks for the night and to receive their light dinner of bread and water or soup. The prisoners slept in overcrowded wooden bunk beds inside the barracks. Toilets in the barracks consisted of a bucket, which was to be dumped once it overflowed (“Living)

III. The Implications of Winter
The camp prisoners dreaded the arrival of winter for it had many meanings, but primarily death. In just three months during the winter, “seven out of ten” of camp prisoners would die and “whoever does not die will suffer minute by minute” (Levi 123). The average temperature in the area of Auschwitz during the winter is 25° F but would often enter the negatives and the camp uniforms were highly inadequate for this type of weather (“European). The prisoners would have...
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