Survival in Auschwitz

Topics: Auschwitz concentration camp, Nazi concentration camps, The Holocaust Pages: 3 (1266 words) Published: February 13, 2006
Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz; The Nazi Assault on Humanity. 1st edition. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

I. Survival in Auschwitz is the unique autobiographical account of how a young man endured the atrocities of a Nazi death camp and lived to tell the tale. Primo Levi, a 24-year-old Jewish chemist from Turin Italy, was captured by the fascist militia in December 1943 and deported to Camp Buna-Monowitz in Auschwitz. The trip by train took 4 long days in a jam-packed boxcar without food or water. Once there, interrogations by the SS of age and health determined life as a prisoner or untimely death. Levi along with hundreds of fellow Jews were stripped of their clothes, given rags to wear, had their heads shaved and were tattooed with a number on their left arm for life. The number would be their solitary identity; it told time of entrance into the camp, the nationality of the individual and was the only way one could get their daily food rations. In the camp, better known as the Lager, a man had to be cunning. He had to learn how to get extra soup and bread rations, avoidance of extremely hard labor whenever possible, and to never take your eyes off of your belongings or they would be stolen. It was as much survival of the smartest as it was survival of the fittest. It was every man for himself; you could not show pity on your fellow man, as it would lead to your own demise. Because of his background as a chemist, Levi was eventually assigned to work at the factory laboratory, which was a welcomed change from the hard labor he had been part of. During his time at the factory, Levi sustained an injury and was sent to the infirmary, better known as "Ka-Be". It was either a place of refuge and rest, or a death sentence. Prisoners (haftlings) who recuperated went back to the Lager and those who didn't were selected for the gas chamber. Levi soon recovered and returned to what can only be described as hell. In...
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