Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp of World War II held roughly 405,000 registered prisoners and of that number only 65,000 survived, not only were prisoners fighting for their lives but also their minds. Primo Levi approaches the psychological effects of Auschwitz with personal experiences, this resulting in a biased and partial recount. Levi describes the effects of the concentration camp on ones self-respect and human dignity and often inmates ‘resorting to mental, physical, and social adaptation in order to retain ones life and personality’. The brutal conditions and treatment of Levi’s inmates often lead to dehumanization of the prisoners ‘within the camps, prisoners were not treated like humans and therefore adapted animalistic behavior necessary to survive’ and morality ceased to exist within the camp.
Primo Levi’s account of the psychological effects of Auschwitz help us better understand the holocaust and the brutal conditions prisoners experienced through the first hand recount and perspective. Levi describes the pure hatred between the Nazi’s and the inmates (being Jewish) throughout his novel; “Some of them beat us from pure bestiality and violence, but others beat us when we are under a load almost lovingly, accompanying the blows with exhortations, as cart-drivers do with willing horses” (67). Levi’s recount of the events which took place inside of Auschwitz highlight the cold hearted and numb acts of suffering inflicted by the Nazis.
The quote “Morality is not universal and therefore cannot be applied to this concentrated society” refers to ones morals and definitions of “good” and “evil” and “right” and “wrong” can shift or become distorted within certain circumstances, (in this instance a Nazi concentration camp) in order to adapt to survive i.e. stealing. Levi suggest that morality and moral values can also become altered amongst different groups and people and they cant come together effectively in such a small community, or...
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